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War-like shelling kills 5 more civilians: India, Pak border skirmishes intensify, over 30 others injured

Jammu, May 23: Five civilians including a 10-year-old boy and a woman were killed while over 30 persons including five BSF personnel, were injured on Wednesday, as Pakistan forces heavy shelling along the International Border in Jammu continued for the third consecutive day.

Pakistani Rangers’ heavy mortar shelling is currently going on in R.S.Pura, Arnia, Ramgarh, Samba and Hiranagar sectors of Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts.

A senior police officer said two civilians were killed and six injured, including three soldiers, in the shelling and firing in Samba that started at 9 am.

The Pakistani Rangers also targeted civilian areas and posts in Kathua district.

In the firing and shelling, three persons were injured and one of them succumbed to injuries on way to hospital, he said adding the injured have been admitted to hospitals.

Confirming the casualties, DGP S P Vaid tweeted, “In a night long shelling and firing from across the border at Jammu International Border Kathua to Akhnoor so far four deaths have taken place and thirty injured. Very sad indeed.”

Meanwhile, over 40,000 border villagers were forced to migrate from their homes as the Pakistan Rangers continued targeting civilian and defence facilities in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts on Wednesday, police said.

While some of the migrants have taken shelter in makeshift camps set up by the administration, most others preferred to shift to the houses of relatives and friends.

Each household has left behind a male member to fend for the cattle and guard their homes from burglars.

A police officer claimed that the Pakistani side resorted to unprovoked shelling and firing at the Border Security Force and civilian facilities for the third consecutive on Wednesday.

Although the BSF was strongly and effectively retaliating, the officer added, there were confirmed large scale migration from R.S. Pura, Arnia, Ramgarh and other sectors close to the international border (IB).

On Tuesday, 18 civilians were injured in the Pakistani shelling in R.S. Pura and Ramgarh sectors.

Those with serious injuries were referred by attending doctors to government medical college hospital in Jammu.

Dozens of cattle have also perished in Pakistani shelling while houses and other structures have suffered huge damages.

Divisional Commissioner (Jammu) Hemant Kumar Sharma said relief camps are active along the border, especially in the worst-hit RS Pura and Arnia sectors.

Hundreds of people had reported at these camps, set up in educational institutions and other government buildings, Sharma said.

He added that adequate facilities are being made available so that the displaced people don’ face any problem.

All schools in the region have been closed along the border as a precautionary measure.

The latest round of shelling had started on May 15, when the BSF foiled two infiltration attempts by Pakistan-backed infiltrators in the Samba sector, and intensified after Pakistan “pleaded” with the BSF to stop firing, after being pounded with heavy artillery that left a trooper dead across the border on May 20.

So far, seven persons, including two BSF jawans and an infant, have been killed and 18 others injured in the Pakistani firing.

Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a spurt in Pakistani shelling and firing along the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) this year.

Over 700 such incidents have been reported so far this year, which have left 39 people, including 18 security personnel, dead and scores injured.

Meanwhile, the Opposition National Conference (NC) Wednesday expressed concern over the shelling and called for peace along the border.

“Bullets and shells are causing enormous human sufferings and this has to be stopped by working towards heralding peace by adhering to the ceasefire agreement,” Ajaz Jan, provincial president, Youth National Conference, said.