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Heavy Pak shelling again in Nowshera; more migrate

India retaliates effectively

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, May 16: Pakistan army tonight again heavily shelled forward villages along Line of Control (LoC) in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district, leading to fresh migration from the people amidst panic even as the Indian side gave very effective retaliation at all the places.
Official sources said Pakistani troops resumed heavy shelling targeting forward posts of Army and civilian population at Pukharni, Ban Morha, Rezwa and Siya Bagla at 6.35 today. Initially, Pakistan army resorted to firing with automatic and semi-automatic weapons but later used 120mm and 82 mm mortars, leading to panic among the villagers, who were still putting up in their houses.
Troops from this side retaliated very heavily and effectively fiving a befitting response to Pakistan. Heavy exchange of mortar shelling and firing continued till 9 pm.
As soon as shelling and firing stopped at 9 pm, large number of people, who were still putting up in these forward villages, left for the houses of their relatives in safer areas or the migrant camps, set up by the administration.
A number of houses were damaged in shelling as mortars exploded close or inside the houses with Pakistani troops directly targeting the civilian population in violation of all norms.
Sources said a total of 3044 families comprising 11,547 people from 10 villages falling on the LoC in Nowshera sector have migrated. While 1720 people from 477 families were putting up in the migrant camps, others were reported to have left for the houses of their relatives in safer areas.
Ten villages badly affected by the shelling included Khamba, Sarya, Bhawani, Kalsian, Manpur, Dhanaka, Khori, Ganiah, Pukharni and Anwas Bhandar.
The migrants have been lodged in four Government schools, which have been converted into the migrant camps including Boys Higher Secondary School, Nowshera, Government Middle School Bawali, Government High School, Nonial and Government Middle School, Nonial.
Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, SSP Rajouri Yougal Manhas and SDM Nowshera Harbans Lal among other senior police and civil officers were supervising and monitoring the evacuation of border dwellers and facilities for them in the migrant camps.
Around 120 officers from various departments have been deployed to organise facilities at relief camps.
On May 14, the Pakistani army had fired indiscriminately using small arms, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars in Nowshera and Manjakote sectors of Rajouri.
On May 13, authorities ordered closure of around 80 schools in Nowshera sector and also Manjakote and Doongi zones.
The district administration has provided immediate relief of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the six people who have died in the Pakistani shelling and given financial assistance to the injured.
Overall, of the 64 villages along the LoC in Rajouri, 23 are located in Nowshera sub-division where 10 villages are badly affected and remaining 15 villages sustained minor losses, while five villages in Doongi and nine villages in Manjakote have been affected, sources said.
Sources said the administration is preparing to make more relief camps functional. Over 25 buildings have been earmarked for this purpose.
They added that class work of migrant students and local students will be resumed this week to ensure that education doesn’t suffer.
Six teams of veterinary surgeons and para vets visited the forward areas where more than 50 injured animals were treated, sources said, adding 12 animals were reported dead.
Six ambulances have been pressed into action for shifting of the injured. One mobile medical unit was stationed at Nowshera and another deputed to forward areas.

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