India and Pakistani forces exchanged heavy mortar fire along the forward posts at the LoC in Balakote sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Pakistani army resorted to firing on forward posts along the LoC in Balakote sector from today,” a defence spokesman said, adding that the fire was effectively retaliated by the Indian forces.
The firing has been going on along the LoC for the last few days that has triggered migration of people to safer places. Pakistani troops also fired on forward posts and civilian areas last night along the LoC in Rajouri which continued late into the night, added the spokesman. He said the Pakistan army initiated indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatic weapons and 82 mm and 120 mm mortars from last night along the LoC in Nowshera sector.
The fresh firing by Indian and Pakistani troops triggered migration of hundreds of families from twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch to safer places, while leaving many buildings damaged.
The Balakote sector has seen heavy firing and the ceasefire violation was also observed in 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.
The firing continued from last Saturday as 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. Later 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 shifted hundreds of families to 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. Earlier 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. 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.
The Pakistan Rangers fired shells on the intervening night of 15 and 16 May on forward areas and civilian belts along the LoC in three belts of Rajouri district. The firing and shelling from across the border has affected over 10,000 people. The district administration has provided an immediate relief of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the dead and financial assistance to the injured, said an official. He said that the students’ classes will be resumed this week to ensure that education doesn’t suffer.
“Six ambulances have been pressed into action for shifting of injured and treatment. One mobile medical unit was stationed at Nowshera and another deputed to forward areas,” he said.