House burnt, civilian hurt in Hiranagar

A house which caught fire due to Pak shelling at Manyari in Hiranagar sector on Saturday night. —Excelsior/Pardeep Sharma
A house which caught fire due to Pak shelling at Manyari in Hiranagar sector on Saturday night. —Excelsior/Pardeep Sharma

A civilian was injured early today in the unprovoked Pakistani shelling along the International Border (IB) in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district, following which locals staged anti-Pakistan protest against frequent ceasefire violations.
The intermittent firing and shelling from across the border overnight was aimed at stalling some construction work in Hiranagar sector, reports said.
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Pakistani Rangers fired from small arms and shelled mortars in Manyari-Chorgali area of Hiranagar sector around 7.45 pm last night, drawing retaliation from BSF personnel.
A house was hit by a mortar shell and caught fire. Owner of the house Syed Ali received minor burn injuries while trying to extinguish the fire, reports said, adding that the intermittent exchange of fire between the two sides continued till 4.40 am.
Dozens of border residents staged demonstration against Pakistan for targeting their village repeatedly over the past one month.
“We are living under constant fear due to routine firing from across the border and want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to teach Pakistan a lesson or otherwise stop the construction work,” one of the protesters, Rehman Ali, said.
He said locals are forced to spend night in underground bunkers as Pakistani Rangers start firing shortly after dusk to stall the work on the construction of a safety bund on the Indian side.
The protesters raised anti-Pakistan slogans and also set ablaze an effigy.
Demanding adequate compensation for Syed’s family, Rehmat said, “Some days back, I lost one of my buffaloes in the firing and now his house turned into ashes. He had suffered loss worth lakhs of rupees.”
He said Syed was lucky that his family had taken shelter in the underground bunker and escaped unhurt.
A team of Revenue officials later visited the forward village to assess the damage.
“The damage will be assessed and the victims will be adequately compensated as per the norms,” an official said.