Entire IB, LoC face war-like situation: 2 jawans among 4 killed, 35 injured - watsupptoday.com
Entire IB, LoC face war-like situation: 2 jawans among 4 killed, 35 injured
Posted 20 Jan 2018 05:42 PM

Agencies
Almost entire International Border (IB) in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts and Line of Control (LoC) in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch virtually faced war-like situation with intense shelling by Pakistani Rangers and army, retaliated very effectively by the Indian side, leaving four persons including an Army jawan, a BSF Head Constable and two civilians, one of them a woman, dead and 35 others—two BSF jawans and 33 civilians, injured, some of them seriously.
As heavy shelling and firing continued for second consecutive day today, large number of people in RS Pura, Arnia, Ramgarh, Hiranagar, Kanachak and Pargwal sectors left their houses for safer locations including the relief camps set up for them by the administration while educational institutions, falling within shelling and firing range, remained closed. Authorities in Rajouri district ordered closure of all educational institutions within five kilometers of LoC in 72 villages for next 3 days.

While International Border remained active throughout the day today right from 5.30 am, major parts of LoC including Nowshera, Manjakote, Balakote, Mankote, Hamirpur and surrounding sectors in Rajouri and Poonch districts flared up around 5 pm today with heavy shelling from Pakistan side, which was being retaliated effectively by the Indian troops, leading to heavy exchanges.
“This was for the first time after a long gap when almost entire International Boundary spread over three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua and LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts, was covered simultaneously by Pakistan with heavy shelling using 82mm and 81mm mortars and firing with heavy, automatic and semi automatic weapons,’’ sources said, adding the shelling and firing was being retaliated with full force at all the places and there were reports that Pakistan has suffered number of casualties and huge infrastructural damages at all the places.
SSP Jammu Vivek Gupta told the Excelsior that bullet-proof bunkers have been deployed in all border areas to evacuate civilians, wherever required. Till late tonight, heavy mortar shells continued to rain in all border areas of Jammu. Deafening sound of mortar shell explosions was heard in areas close to city peripheries.
SSP Samba Anil Magotra said nearly 100 people were evacuated in bullet-proof bunkers while scores of others from Ramgarh sector took shelter in community halls and religious places late tonight in view of very heavy shelling.
With the onset of dawn, Pakistan opened mortar shelling and firing, targeting all forward villages and border posts at RS Pura, Arnia, Ramgarh, Samba, Ghagwal, Hiranagar and Rajbagh in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts, directly targeting civilian population in the villages. However, in the evening, they extended shelling and firing to Pargwal, Gajansoo, Kanachak, Garkhal and surrounding areas in Jammu and Akhnoor.
Sources said the people had just started coming out of their houses around 5.30 am when heavy mortar shells started landed in the villages, leading to panic all around. The people rushed back to their houses and took shelter. The mortar shells even landed inside the houses and other structures of the people, leading to heavy damages.
Three BSF jawans were injured when mortar shells fell around their posts in Ramgarh sector of Samba district. One of them identified as Jagpal Singh attained martyrdom while being treated in the hospital and two others including Adarsh SS and Sat Paul Singh were under treatment. The injured were responding to the treatment.
Another Army jawan Lance Naik Sam Abraham was grievously injured in Pakistan shelling and firing in Sunderbani sector, bordering Pallanwalla in Akhnoor, of Rajouri district. He too attained martyrdom later. Abraham, 34, belonged to village Poonakam in Allepey district of Kerala and is survived by his wife Anu Mathew and infant daughter. Army paid glowing tributes to the martyr.
Two civilians were killed when mortar shells exploded inside their houses at Arnia and RS Pura sectors, close to the International Border. They have been identified as Bachno Devi, 45, wife of Jeet Raj R/o Sai Khurd, Arnia and Sahil Kumar, 25, son of Krishan Lal R/o Korotana, RS Pura.
Twelve persons were injured in Arnia sector, eight in RS Pura, five in Samba, nine in Kathua and one in Mendhar.
With four deaths today, total number of killings in ceasefire violations by Pakistan during last two days has gone up to six. Yesterday, a BSF jawan and a young girl were killed in shelling and firing in RS Pura and Arnia sectors.
“Going by intensity of shelling from Pakistan side on the International Border, it seems Pakistan army had mixed up with the Rangers to target civilian areas on this side,’’ sources pointed out referring to the shelling, which intermittently continued throughout the day today after gap of few minutes. It was going on at number of places till late tonight when the reports last came in.
According to official estimates, large number of houses, other structures, cattle sheds and vehicles of the people have been damaged all along the International Border in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts, which were facing brunt of the shelling. A large number of cattle have perished in the shelling. Some of the houses were virtually flattened.
There were no exact figures of number of cattle killed or injured and property damaged in shelling and firing during past two days but, according to reports, the losses were heavy.
Authorities were not able to undertake visits to the forward areas to assess damages in view of continued shelling throughout the day. According to sources, authorities would visit border areas once the shelling stops.
Amidst continued shelling, people in several forward villages left their houses in whatever mode of transport was available with them including cart-pullers and took shelter in safer areas. While large number of people left for the houses of their relatives and friends, others took shelters in the Government buildings including educational institutions, religious places and community halls, which had been earmarked by the administration as relief camps. Some of the border people were also evacuated in the bunkers deployed by police administration.
However, in view of intense shelling, authorities were anticipating more migration by tomorrow. Police and civil administration received distress calls from several places for evacuation of the civilian population and shifting injured to the hospital. At some places, ambulances managed to shift the injured to hospitals while in other areas, people were compelled to took injured to hospitals on their own, risking their lives.
Educational institutions, both Government and private, remained closed within five kilometers area of the International Border today and were likely to remain shut tomorrow as well. In Nowshera sector also, schools were closed in the afternoon when shelling started.
In the evening, Pakistani troops resorted to heavy shelling and firing in Pargwal, Gajansoo and Garkhal in Jammu and Akhnoor tehsil and parts of Kanachak sector, spreading panic among the people. Number of people abandoned their houses in panic and took shelter in safer areas while others confined themselves to their houses.
On the LoC, Pakistan opened firing and shelling in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district but subsequently extended it to Manjakote, Balakote, Mankote, Hamirpur and surrounding sectors of Rajouri and Poonch districts. On the LoC also, Pakistan was directly targeting civilian population.
However, Indian troops were retaliating very effectively, leading to heavy exchanges.
Sources said several mortar shells fell in the civilian areas. In Dabi village of Balakote sector in Mendhar tehsil, a civilian Mohammad Sadam son of Mohammad Iqbal was injured. He was evacuated from the house and hospitalized.
Asserting that there was wide-spread panic among the border dwellers on the International Border in all three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua, sources said the civilian population in border villages of all these districts remained confined to houses and bunkers and didn’t venture out as shells continued to rain intermittently.
“More than the BSF posts, Pakistani Rangers were targeting civilian areas,’’ sources said, adding while some people managed to shift to safer locations amidst the ongoing shelling and firing, risking their lives, majority population was still in the villages.
Troops also foiled an infiltration attempt by the militants on the LoC near Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district. The militants were reported to have escaped back to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) leaving behind some goods, which have been seized.
Eight civilians injured in RS Pura sector have been identified as Krishan Lal, 50, son of Ujjagar Singh R/o Korotana, Davinder Singh, 30, son of Raj Singh, Balak Ram, 45, son of Gurbachan, Kamal Jeet, 45, son of Raj Singh, Sham Lal, 55, son of Anant Ram, all residents of Suchetgarh, Popinder Singh son of Jaswant Singh R/o Floura, Hazi Bashir son of Mohammad Mussa R/o Joura Farm and Jeet Raj, 55, son of Dharam Chand R/o Sai Khurd.
Twelve civilians injured in Arnia sector were identified as Vidya Devi wife of Bachan Lal and Riya, both residents of Kaku De Kothe. Anita Devi wife of Subash Chander R/o Ward No. 7, Arnia, Divanshu son of Vijay Kumar R/o Ward No. 9, Arnia, Seema Gupta wife of Vijay Kumar R/o Ward No. 9, Arnia, Rohit Saini son of Dharam Chand R/o Ward No. 8, Arnia, Tilak Raj son of Bhuram Ram R/o Salehar, Santosh Kumar wife of Prem Lal R/o Ward No. 4, Arnia and Yash Paul son of Waryam Singh R/o Trewa and Hakam Chand S/o Sain Dass, Arnia.
Nine persons injured in Kathua district included Mohammad Sharif, 55, son of Shamas Din R/o Mesha Chak, Zulfan, 11, daughter of Rahim R/o Pansar, Rani, 26, wife of Ashiq Ali, Rahim. 58, son of Baghu, Mam Hussain, 22, son of Rahim, all residents of Pansar, Amana daughter of Rahim, Yusuf son of Shamas Din, Mohammad Fagu son of Mohammad Zuma and Sadiq Ali, all residents of Pansar. Rani was referred to the GMC Jammu while other injured were admitted in District Hospital Kathua and Sub District Hospital Hiranagar.
Two BSF jawans and three civilians were injured in Ramgarh sector of Samba district. The injured BSF jawans included Adarsh SS and Sat Paul Singh and civilians as Nanak Raj, 52, son of Datt Ram R/o Mahal Shah, Ranjeet Singh, 35, son of Devi Raj R/o Khokharey Chak and Sukhjinder Singh, 17, S/o Jarnail Singh R/o Dadyal.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has expressed grief and anguish over the killing of three persons during the cross border shelling in the RS Pura, Suchetgarh and Arnia sectors today.
The Chief Minister said that it is very unfortunate that the people of border areas in the State continue to bear the brunt of cross border fire power. She said today’s incidents of shelling are a proof of her assertion that the people of the State are the worst victims of acrimony between the two neighbouring countries while appealing for cessation of hostilities on the borders.
Meanwhile, Mehbooba has directed the Jammu divisional administration to ensure specialized treatment to the people injured in the shelling. She has also directed the respective Deputy Commissioners to organise camps for the affected people at safe locations and ensure that all basic amenities are provided to them.
PTI adds from New Delhi: India today summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah and conveyed “grave concerns” at the continued ceasefire violations and deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by Pakistan forces.
Shah was summoned by the Joint Secretary in Pakistan division.
The External Affairs Ministry has registered its “strong protest” at the loss of three innocent civilian lives besides injuries to nine other civilians in ceasefire violations by Pakistan forces on 18 and 19 January 2019 in Hiranagar, Samba, Ramgarh, R S Pura and Arnia sectors, an official release said.
More than 100 such violations have been carried out by the Pakistan forces on the Line of Control and the International Border so far during 2018.
“It was conveyed to the concerned authorities in Pakistan that deliberate targeting of innocent civilians was against all established humanitarian norms and practises,” the statement said.
During the meeting, he was told that Pakistan should adhere to the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the Line of Control and the International Boundary.
Earlier, during the weekly briefing, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We of course very strongly condemn the continued and unprecedented ceasefire violations by Pakistan which has caused loss of lives and properties. Our sincere condolences to the families of those affected in this incident.”
He also said that Pakistan violates the ceasefire as a cover to infiltrate terrorists across the border into India.
“We of course retaliate in such cases and we also take up the matter at appropriate level with the Pakistani side,” he added.

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