Heavy shelling in 11 border villages, 8 BSF posts targeted

Women point towards their wall hit by bullets and splinters of mortar shells in Jora Farm in R S Pura sector on Monday. Excelsior/Rakesh
Women point towards their wall hit by bullets and splinters of mortar shells in Jora Farm in R S Pura sector on Monday. Excelsior/Rakesh

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Feb 9: Pakistani Rangers last night resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing targeting civilian areas in 11 villages and eight BSF Border Out posts (BoPs) along the International Border (IB) in RS Pura and Arnia sectors injuring a civilian and damaging over dozen houses and other structures.
Though Pakistan had repeatedly been violating ceasefire in RS Pura, Arnia and Samba sectors, it was for the first time this month that the Rangers targeted civilian areas with 81mm and 82mm mortars and pounded BSF posts and forward villages with shells and heavy fire arms last night.
The shelling and firing continued till wee hours of this morning.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Pakistani Rangers stepped-up mortar shelling and firing around midnight last night and continued it till 2 am today targeting 11 forward villages of Chakroi, Nawa Pind, Jugnu Chak, Tent Guard, Jora Farm, Abdullian, Korotana, Tube Well, Nikowal, Budhwar and Bidhipur in RS Pura and Arnia sectors on the International Border.
“Initially, the BSF didn’t retaliate but as the Pakistani Rangers stepped-up mortar shelling targeting eight forward BSF BoPs and nine villages, they returned the firing effectively to silence guns of Pakistan,’’ sources said, adding the BSF was left with no other option but to retaliate.
A civilian Khadim Hussain son of Roshan Din, a resident of Jora Farm was injured after being hit by splinters of mortar shell in his house. The families of Darshan Lal and Bachan Lal had narrow escape in their houses at village Korotana as mortar shells fell in the premises of their houses.
Police parties from RS Pura police station led by SHO Inspector Abid Rafiqi rushed to shelling hit villages and evacuated the injured to hospital.
The firing and shelling stopped at 2 am after effective retaliation by the BSF, sources said.
They added that more than dozen houses were directly hit by mortar shells and their splinters and got damaged. Some structures were also damaged in the shelling. A number of mortar shells landed in the fields of forward villages.
Sources said barring injuries suffered by Khadim Hussain, there were no casualties of BSF or civilians on the Indian side in heavy shelling and firing from Pakistan.
During past over one week, the Rangers had been resorting to intermittent firing at different BSF posts in RS Pura, Arnia and Samba sectors but this was for the first time during current month that Pakistan resorted to mortar shelling and heavy firing with automatic weapons in border villages and BSF posts in RS Pura and Arnia sectors.
There was, however, no migration from the border villages hit by mortar shells, sources said, adding the people didn’t venture to the fields today anticipating that some live shells might be lying there. The BSF jawans and police personnel sanitized the area to ensure that there were no live mortar shells in the border villages and fields.
Despite no migration, panic prevailed among the border villagers of RS Pura and Arnia as they feared that Pakistan could step-up shelling and firing. The people having constructed their own bunkers tonight confined themselves there while others preferred to stay in the houses instead of working in the fields or other places.
However, there was no firing or shelling from Pakistan side after 2 am.
There have been three ceasefire violations along IB in Samba, Arnia and R S Pura in February this year.
In January this year, Pakistan resorted to several ceasefire violations resulting in death of three people including two BSF jawans and a civilian and injuries to 10 others.

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