Kashmir border quiet, but villagers maintain safe distance

Although no firing or shelling was reported yesterday, frightened villagers chose to stay away in makeshift camps in Samba and Kathua districts where they have been sheltered since Saturday

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir border remained quiet on Sunday; one 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, frightened villagers chose to stay away in makeshift camps in Samba and Kathua districts where they have been sheltered, an official said.

Bullet-ridden: Villagers stand alongside the shattered windscreen of a vehicle damaged in cross border firing at the village Bainglad of Samba district, some 50 km from Jammu, on Saturday. Pic/AFP

“Since Saturday evening, there has been no ceasefire violation by the Pakistani troops on the international border in the two districts,” a senior army official said. Around 1,400 villagers who fled their homes on Saturday, due to indiscriminate shelling by Pakistani 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 yesterday morning to feed the cattle, but have decided against returning home with the women and children for now.

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

The woman, identified as 45-year-old Toshi Devi, wife of Somnath and 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 are being treated in the same hospital, a police officer said.

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 fled their homes because of the shelling.

In the other incident of Pakistan firing on the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district, the 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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