Jammu border flare up: 5 more killed, 54 wounded

One lakh residents from over 100 villages flee to safer places

ARVIND SHARMA/ YOGESH SAGOTRA
Jammu, Publish Date: May 23 2018 11:51PM | Updated Date: May 24 2018 1:32AM
Jammu border flare up: 5 more killed, 54 woundedPhoto: Mir Imran/GK

Pakistan Rangeres continued to pound border posts and villages along the International Border in Jammu leaving five civilians dead on Wednesday, officials said, forcing over a hundred thousand people flee from their homes. 

The dead included a five-year-old boy and a woman. At least 54 people, including 10 border security force personnel were injured during one of the longest lasting exchange of heavy fire between Pakistan Rangers and BSF along the IB. 

Some officials and boreder residents described the situation as “war-like”. 

At least 100 villages in Arnia, Samba, RS Pura and Akhnoor along the 198-kilometre long IB have been affected by the latest flare up that started last Friday, officials said.

Scores of villages have been completely emptied as panicked border residents fled leaving their homes and cattle behind. 

“The migration (by border residents) is going up as the Pakistani Rangers have increased the firing range up to five and a half kilometers inside our territory in many areas,” an official said.  

Arnia and RS Pura sectors in Jammu district have been the worst affected so far where more than eighty (80) villages have come under direct heavy fire and mortar shelling from Pakistani Rangers.

“More than 80 villages in RS Pura and Arnia are being directly targeted with heavy shelling by Pakistani Rangers,” Arun Manhas, additional district commissioner of Jammu told Greater Kashmir.

“More than eighty thousand (80,000) people in RS Pura and Arnia sectors have left their homes and moved to safer places, mostly to the homes of relatives.” 

Sources said that in the three border districts of Jammu region namely Jammu, Samba and Kathua, more than hundred (100) villages have been directly affected by heavy shelling from across the border.

Residents of Ramgarh and Hira Nagar sectors also migrated to safer places.      

Officials said over one lakh people from the affected border areas have fled the firing and taken shelter either in relief camps set up by the government or in the homes of their relatives.

“We (JK Police) mobilised all our resources for border. Our all bullet proof bunkers were deployed on border from Kathua to Akhnoor. Policemen are deployed 24X7 to assist people in evacuating people to safer places,” inspector general of police for Jammu province, Shiv Dev Singh Jamwal said. 

Government set up relief camps in schools, community halls and at other places but most affected people preferred to take shelter in the homes of their relatives.

According to figures 2000 people from RS Pura and Arnia, the worst affected sectors, had taken shelter in the government relief camps by the end of Wednesday.

Manhas said more people arrive in the relief camps during night. 

Jora Farm village in RS Pura, which has a population of 1700 Gujjars, has been completely deserted and entire population shifted to Chakroi.

Similarly, Abdullian village and many others in RS Pura have also been deserted.

Sources said that in many villages, one male member of a family goes back to the village to feed cattle during the day but returns to the relief camps or to the relative’s home for the night.

“We have been continuously urging people to move to safer places, particularly in the areas where the firing range has been increased by the Pakistani Rangers,” Manhas said.

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