Fresh firing triggers evacuation of hundreds of families along LoC

The fresh firing by Indian and Pakistani troops today triggered migration of hundreds of families from twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch to safer places, while leaving many buildings damaged.

Local residents said that the firing continued for the second day today along the Balakote sector in Poonch as well as the Manjakote area of Rajouri forcing the administration to carry out the evacuation of the families. Hundreds of families have been shifted to relief camps which have been set up at schools and Anganwari centres.

On Saturday the armies of India and Pakistan pounded each other’s areas and forward posts along the LoC in Nowshera area with mortars in which two civilians had lost their lives.

During the day today brief spells of firing were witnessed in both the Balakote and Manjakote sector with shells also landing in civilian areas triggering the migration of people. Besides the small arms fire, heavy mortar firing has been witnessed along the LoC. More than eight villages were affected in the firing, officials said.

The district administration, Rajouri has so far shifted 1114 persons of 298 families in 5 different relief camps established in Nowshera in wake of cross-LOC shelling. Eight villages of Nowshera have been badly affected by heavy shelling which include Khamba, Sarya, Bhawani, Kalsian, Manpur, Danaka, Khori and Ganya. More than 1000 people have been shifted to camps in last 24 hours, said an official.

Deputy Commissioner, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary inspected all the camps and supervises relief and evacuation process in forward areas. Cooked food, lighting, bedding, first aid, medical care, drinking water and sanitary facilities have been provided apart from opening of Anganwadi Centres and playways for children in relief camps.

More than 2694 families comprising of 10,042 persons have been affected in shelling which has led to 2 deaths and injuries to 6 people and damage of houses. Overall out of 64 villages along LOC in Rajouri 23 are located in Nowshera sub- division where 8 villages are badly affected and remaining 15 village’s sustained minor losses, 5 villages in Doongi and 9 villages in Manjakote have been affected.

As per reports fresh ceasefire violation was reported at Manjakote and Chingus areas today morning. Chhotibakri village in Doongi area received more than 30 shells near habitations, however no loss of life or injury was reported. Three cattle were reported dead. In Tarkudi area 14-15 shells were dropped however no loss was reported. A team headed by Assistant Commissioner Revenue Paramjeet Singh comprised of a dozen officers from essential services visited and camped in various areas of Majakote.

In Niaka-Panjgrain village of Manjakote 3-4 shells were dropped in cross-border shelling. More than 40 shells landed in various areas of Manjakote where 3 houses were damaged. A team of officers headed by Asstt Commissioner Defence visited various affected areas of Doongi-Chingus. On Saturday government ordered closure of 87 schools along LoC till further orders in view of recurrent cross-border shelling in the villages located in the forward areas of the district.

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