Women among 7 civilians injured in heavy Pak shelling at Balakote

A woman injured in Pak shelling being shifted to hospital in Balakote sector on Sunday. — Excelsior/Rahi Kapoor
A woman injured in Pak shelling being shifted to hospital in Balakote sector on Sunday. — Excelsior/Rahi Kapoor

Several houses damaged

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Sept 29: Seven civilians including two women and a child were injured as Pakistan army resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing on the Line of Control (LoC) in Balakote sector of Poonch district today, sending wave of panic among the people living in forward areas.
Right from early hours of morning, the Pakistan army targeted forward posts of Indian troops and civilian locations in over dozen villages of Balakote sector in Poonch district. The Indian side retaliated Pakistan shelling and firing very effectively.
Several mortar shells fired by the Pakistan army fell in the civilian locations damaging houses and causing injuries to seven civilians.
Injured civilians have been identified as Mohammad Imran, 12, son of Abdul Hameed R/o Barohitti, Motian Bi wife of Mohammad Razzak, Gulzaid Bi wife of Mohammad Kabir R/o Sandote, Balakote, Mukhtar Ahmad son of Mohammad Sayeed R/o Dharati, Balakote, Mohammad Shehraz son of Abdul Khan R/o Darhati, Imran Khan, 16, son of Mohammad Afzal Khan R/o Darhati and Iqbal Ahmed of Poonch.
Barring Mukhtair, who had sustained minor injuries, all other three injured civilians have been referred to the District Hospital Rajouri, where they were responding to the treatment.
SSP Poonch Romesh Angral said police teams were camping in the shelling affected villages to help the injured. He said police has advised the people to stay indoors.
Sources said Iqbal Khan, Mukhtar Ahmad and Imran Khan were working for construction of road in forward area of Dabbi in Balakote sector along with JCB machine which was hit by mortar shell by Pakistan army in which all three were injured. They were evacuated by the troops under intense shelling and firing.
Shelling and firing in many villages continued till late tonight.
Panic stricken people in nearly dozen villages of Balakote sector and surrounding villages in Mendhar confined themselves to houses and bunkers as shelling continued throughout the day from Pakistan side with small brakes.
Number of houses, structures and cattle sheds were damaged in the shelling, sources said, adding that rescue teams visited some of the affected villages late this evening when shelling stopped.
Pakistan was also reported to have suffered extensive damage in retaliatory shelling and firing by the Indian side, sources said, adding that exact losses on other side of the LoC couldn’t be ascertained immediately.
Though today’s mortar shelling was confined to Balakote, people also remained inside their houses in adjoining villages of Mendhar sector
On Saturday evening, Pakistani troops resorted to mortar shelling and small arms firing in Shahpur and Kerni sectors in Poonch district, prompting strong retaliation by India.
The exchange of fire between the two sides lasted for several hours but caused no damage on our side.
This year, according to officials, Pakistan violated the ceasefire over 2,000 times along the LoC, leaving 21 people dead and scores of others injured.
India has repeatedly called upon Pakistan to ask its forces to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire understanding and maintain peace and tranquility along the LoC and the International Border.
Last night, Pakistani Rangers had also violated ceasefire along the International Border in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district by firing few mortar shells and rounds.
Sources said Pakistan was frustrated after being isolated at the international level on Kashmir issue and was resorting to shelling and firing on civilian locations to target innocent population.