With 11 more people, including three BSF personnel, injured in continued Pakistan mortar shelling along the nearly 200-km-long international border (IB), the Jammu and Kashmir government has activated “crisis management groups” comprising civil and police officials to evacuate people from affected areas in case of emergency.
BSF sources said 60 border outposts (BOPs) were affected as firing continued in Pargwal, Kanachak, Arnia and Samba areas. The BSF is retaliating in a “befitting” and “calibrated manner”, they added.
Sources said injured BSF personnel — Head Constable B S Rakhi and Constables Irfan Khan and Meti — were hurt in shelling on S H Way BOP around 6.30 pm on Wednesday. Six civilians were injured in Kanachak and two others in Ramgarh.
Nearly 150 villages along the border on the Indian side were pounded with mortar shells by Pakistan Rangers through the night, provoking the BSF to retaliate. The shelling was so intense that it was even audible in major towns far away from the zero line. Eight people have so far died and over 80 injured in continued firing and shelling on civilians by Pakistan since October 3.
In view of the escalating situation, “crisis management groups” have been activated along the border from Poonch to Kathua districts to first evacuate people and then provide food and shelter, Inspector General of Police for Jammu Zone, Rakesh Kumar, said.
“All government departments including police are part of these groups which undertake evacuation in emergency situations,” he said, adding that “bunker-type bulletproof vehicles have been put in place for those who do not wish to leave their homes.” Nearly 30,000 people have migrated to safer places in the wake.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Shantmanu said that 7,000 people were staying at camps set up by the administration at various places in Jammu, Kathua and Poonch districts. “We are ready with a contingency plan in order to meet any emergent situation,” he said, appealing border residents to respond to the warnings being issued from time to time.