With Pakistan engaging in persistent mortar shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector since February 19, the Army has stepped up relief efforts to villagers who have been relocated at a makeshift camp set up in a government school. With J&K receiving fresh snowfall this week, taking the temperature down a few notches, the demand for medicines and warm clothes have compounded. However, Brigadier YS Ahlawat said the Army had risen to the crisis and was providing food, medicine, drinking water to the villagers in the wake of the most intense cross-border shelling in the Uri sector in Kashmir since 2003.
“The Army has swung into action and provided immediate relief to villagers, including food, medicine, drinking water and have provisioned sleeping bags in view of the winter,” Ahlawat was quoted as saying by ANI. He also lashed out at Pakistan for displaying extreme cowardice and unprofessionalism over repeated ceasefire violations.
However, Ahlawat maintained that the Indian side had retaliated effectively on the Pakistan Army posts along the LoC for targetting “innocent villagers and causing damage to their houses”. “Since February 19, Pakistan Army has been continuously carrying out ceasefire violations along the LoC in Uri sector. Displaying extreme cowardice & unprofessionalism, it has been targeting innocent villagers and causing damage to their houses through mortar shelling,” the Brigadier said.
For the first time, artillery fire was seen in the Uri sector and there have been regular exchanges of fire and mortar between the two sides since Monday, affecting Churanda, Silikote and Tilawari villages in Uri. The government used ambulances as well as deployed private vehicles to evacuate the villagers in the Uri sector on Saturday. “Around 7,000-8,000 people are affected. We have evacuated around a thousand people,” said Sub-Divisional Magistrate Dr Sagar D.
Uri is one of the major infiltration routes for militants into Kashmir. The brigade headquarters at Uri was the site of the terror attack that killed 19 soldiers in 2016.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics and mortars from 4.45 pm in Nowshera sector along the Line of Control, ANI reported. The Indian Army is retaliating in the ongoing operation.