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A villager shows tails of mortar shells, claimed to be fired from the Pakistani side, along the international border at Gopper Basti in Jammu.

(Photo: PTI)

In Pics: Pak Cross-Border Firing Forces People to Flee J&K Hamlets

People living in border villages reportedly said they have never seen such intense shelling and firing since 1971.

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4 min read

There was complete silence on 24 May, after nine days of incessant firing by the Pakistani troops along the International Border in the Jammu region, reported PTI. However, there was overnight firing and shelling by the Pakistan Army in Lam and Nowshera sectors of Rajouri district, in which one civilian reportedly sustained injuries.

Eleven people, including nine civilians, have been killed and over 60 people, including over 48 civilians have been injured as the Pakistani troops rained mortars and opened heavy fire.

Five civilians were killed and nine others injured in heavy firing by Pakistani troops along the International Border (IB) in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts on 23 May.

Shelled by Pakistan troops for past nine days, the bustling Arnia border town and nearly 120 border hamlets along the Indo-Pak border now wear an empty look, with over one lakh villagers abandoning their homes to escape heavy shelling of mortar bombs.

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Several camps have been setup in Kathua, Samba and Jammu district to house border migrants and provide them food, a senior officer told PTI, adding that several community kitchens are being run to provide food. Over 500 people have reported at the camps set up in educational institutions and other government buildings.

People, who migrated to camps in RS Pura and Arnia and are at the forefront of Pakistani shelling, told PTI they feel they are in a war zone with sounds of mortar bombs and rattle of automatic weapons booming in the area and deaths, injuries and devastation seen everywhere.

They say they have never seen such intense shelling and firing since 1971 and urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to go for war with Pakistan to sort out the issue once for all.

Over 200 educational institutes continue to remain closed for the 5th consecutive day along the IB in Jammu, Samba, and Kathua districts by authorities in the wake of tension along the Indo-Pak border due to shelling.

Some families that had initially decided to hold on to their homes have finally decided to move after intense shelling for past two days have forced them to flee border homes.

"We wanted to stay back but heavy mortar shells exploded at our house killing our cattle", said Bobiya resident Tarseem Singh, who has fled the hamlet on his bike along with his wife and minor daughter to save their lives.

While most of the border dwellers are living with their relatives, over 3,000 are camped in boarding and lodging places set up by the government in schools. Over 2000 cattle have been shifted from various border hamlets to safer places, reported PTI.

In Samba and Ramgarh sectors of Samba district, over 4000 people have migrated besides over 2000 from Hiranagar sector of Kathua district.

“The education of our children is hit due to closure of schools owing to cross-border firing. We are unable to tend our land properly, attend our cattle and now even we are unable to get brides for our sons as people are reluctant to marry their daughters in our homes due to the fear of Pakistani firing,” Darshan Lal, another border resident, said.

Politicians are only visible when they have to seek votes, he claimed, adding, “nobody cares whether we live or die”.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed grave concern over the situation prevailing along the borders in the state following the latest spate of killings in cross-border shelling by Pakistan and called for immediate cessation of hostilities to safeguard the lives and properties of the hapless people.

“It is the life and property and sense of security of the people of J and K which are in the line of fire and every bullet or a mortar shell fired hits only the residents of this state on either side,” the chief minister said in a statement.

(With inputs from PTI)

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