Residents of villages along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir have been moved to camps following heavy shelling of forward Indian positions and civilian areas, which has killed three people and injured 10 since Friday night.
Among the dead are two Army jawans, who were killed after Pakistani troops fired Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) in Tangdhar sector along the LoC on Friday night. The jawans were identified as Rifleman Vijay Gurung and Havaldar Suresh Bahadur of the 5/5 Gorkha Rifles.
They said the Pakistani action caused death of two army jawans and injury to another. A BSF jawan, who was posted on duty in a nearby post of the force, was also injured in the incident, the officials said.
Several other soldiers were injured. Indian troops retaliated, and the exchange of fire continued through the night. Some Pakistani shells landed near civilian areas along the LoC, but there were no deaths or loss of property.
In Jammu, one woman was killed and eight injured after heavy shelling of civilian areas by the Pakistan Rangers in Samba and Kathua districts. The firing stopped by noon on Saturday, but started again in the evening, injuring a civilian in Hiranagar sector. The BSF retaliated, and a heavy exchange of fire was ongoing.
The dead civilian was identified as Toshi Rani, 45, of village Mangu Chak in Samba sector. Sources said she and her 14-year-old son Rahul sustained splinter injuries after a mortar shell fell near a local school around 11 am. Both were rushed to hospital, where Toshi succumbed.
Earlier in the morning, two men, Pawan Kumar and Nittu Ram, were injured by shells that fell in the nearby Bengalard village.
In Hiranagar sector of Kathua district, four people were injured in Pansar and Chan Lal Din villages near the IB. They have been identified as Naresh Bandral, Ranjana, Mohit and Madhubala.
The shelling along the IB and LoC comes ahead of the visit of US President Barack Obama who will be the chief guest at Republic Day. Saturday’s incidents were the eleventh violation of ceasefire by the Pak Rangers in the last eight days.
Inspector General of BSF (Jammu zone) Rakesh Sharma said the firing could be intended also to help terrorists, some 50-60 of whom were camping at launch pads in Pakistan, sneak in. Security has been intensified along the border, he said, adding that over a dozen BSF border posts were affected by the firing. The skirmishes along the IB started after the BSF foiled an infiltration attempt in Arnia sector on Wednesday afternoon.