Kashmir border quiet but villagers stay away

Jammu, Jan 4 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir border was quiet Sunday, a day after Pakistani gunfire left two Indian soldiers and a civilian dead and forced hundreds to flee their homes along the frontier.

Although no firing or shelling was reported Sunday, frightened villagers chose to stay away in makeshift camps in Samba and Kathua districts where they have been sheltered, an official said.

“Since yesterday (Saturday) evening, there has been no ceasefire violation by the Pakistani troops on the international border in the two districts,” a senior official told IANS.

Around 1,400 villagers who fled their homes Saturday due to indiscriminate shelling by Pakistan Rangers were still camped at safer places away from their homes, the official added.

They were in camps at Hiranagar, Chan Kahtriyan and Maren in Kathua and at Regaal and Chichi Mata in Samba.

The official said male members of some of the families visited their villages Sunday morning to feed the cattle but decided against returning home with the women and children for now.

A woman was killed and eight other civilians were injured Saturday in Pakistani shelling along the international border in Samba and Kathua, police said.

The woman identified as 45-year-old Toshi Devi, wife of Somnath and a resident of Mangu Chak village in Samba, was injured in the shelling and succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Jammu. The eight injured civilians were being treated in the same hospital, a police officer told IANS.

The shelling forced scores of villagers to migrate to safer places. Reports from the border villages of Manyari, Paansar, Bobia, Londi, Sadechak, Chailari, Chachwal, Mangu Chak, Regaal, Mawa, Sadho and Chak Fakira said dozens of families left their homes because of the shelling.

In the other incident of Pakistan firing on the Line of Control in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district, police said rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) fired at an Indian army post triggered a blaze in which two soldiers of Gorkha Rifles were killed and two others were injured.


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