As Pakistan continues mortar shelling across the border, people living in villages in the border area are now being shifted to safer places, news agency ANI reported. According to Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner of Rajouri, 26 villages in Nowshera have been affected till now by the bombardment. Four relief camps have also been established and 26 other identified in case more evacuation is needed.
Early morning on Saturday at 7.15 am, Pakistan began 120 mm and 80 mm mortar shelling at various places along the Line of Control in Nowshera sector, which killed two civilians, including a 14-year-old girl, and injured five others. According to sources, mortar shells were falling in Baba Khori, Kalsiyan, Jhanghar, Makri and Tarya areas. The firing in the region restarted after quiet of 48 hours. Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistani troops had resorted to shelling in Laam area of Nowshera, which killed a woman and injuring her husband. The escalation of tension along the LoC had led to migration of people from various places to safer areas.
As many as 27 families have been affected due to the shelling in which many houses, including a school have been damaged partially or severely, Choudary said, adding that more than 40 farm animals were also reportedly killed in the firing.
The injured included four army soldiers and a civilian woman. Tufail Hussain, 50, and Afiya, 14, were identified as the deceased. Tufail’s wife, Jaitoon Begum was injured. The couple was sitting outside their house in Jhanghar area when the mortar shell fell nearby. Afiya hailed from Mendhar and she had come to the house of her relatives in the area.
Lt Colonel Manish Mehta, a defence ministry spokesperson said that “the Indian troops were retaliating strongly and effectively. The firing is presently on”.
Authorities have also ordered the closure of schools along the Line of Control in Rajouri after the shelling. The army too has shut its schools along the LoC in Balakote sector in Poonch and has asked people not move out in the border areas. All the schools situated along the LoC in Rajouri district were closed down due to the firing on Wednesday.
On Friday morning, Pakistani Rangers carried out unprovoked firing from small weapons and mortal shelling in Arnia sector, injuring a tractor driver in the process. Pointing out that “a strong protest will be lodged to Pakistani Rangers for the misadventure by their forward troops,’’ an official spokesperson said that, “BSF is on high alert and fully committed to ensure sanctity of the international border, and will not allow any kind of activities under garb of such misadventure.”