Heavy firing and shelling by Pak troops; 5 civilians killed along IB

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Shadow Bureau
JAMMU, MAY 23:
Five civilians were killed and nine others injured as Pakistani troops rained mortars and opened heavy fire on Indian villages and BoPs along the International Border (IB) in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts on Wednesday.
Today is the 9th day of continuous firing and shelling by Pakistani Rangers along the IB and LoC in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
A senior police officer said two civilians were killed and six injured in the shelling and firing in Samba that started at 9 AM.
Pakistani Rangers also targeted civilian areas and posts in Kathua district.
“There was heavy firing and shelling on civilian areas and posts along the IB in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district before dawn”, a senior police officer said.
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.
He said over 100 border dwellers have been evacuated and put in safe shelters and an operation to evacuate others is going on with use of bullet proof vehicles. The shelling is going on, he said.
In R S Pura, Arnia, Bishnah of Jammu district and Ramgarh and Samba sectors firing and shelling is going on since last night.
“In heavy shelling by Pakistan on Wednesday morning, a civilian was killed in R S Pura sector and another injured in Arnia sector”, a police officer said. The injured person later succumbed to injuries.
Large number of people have been evacuated from various villages in these sectors since last night, he said. On Tuesday, 20 civilians were injured when Pakistani troops shelled Indian villages with mortar bombs.
Arnia town, which has been badly hit in Pakistani shelling, is deserted as most of the people have left their houses and taken shelter either in government camps or at the homes of their relatives.
Educational institutions in the affected areas remained closed.
A senior BSF official said firing and shelling continued unabated overnight and has spread to all sectors along
Heavy firing. . . . .
the border.He said Pakistani Rangers suffered several casualties with a number of their bunkers getting hit in the exchanges.
Over 500 people have reported at these camps set up in educational institutions and other government buildings.Adequate facilities are available at these camps.
The latest round of shelling started on May 15 when the BSF foiled two infiltration attempts by Pakistan-backed infiltrators in Samba sector and intensified a day after Pakistan “pleading” with the BSF to stop firing after being pounded with heavy artillery that left a trooper dead across the border on May 20.
The state 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 this year, which have left over 40 people, including 18 security personnel, dead and scores injured.
Meanwhile, Expressing grave concern over the painful and distressing situation prevailing along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of latest spate of killings in cross-border shelling, Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti today called for immediate cessation of hostilities to safeguard the lives and properties of the hapless people caught in the deadly crossfire.
“It is the life and property and sense of security of the people of J&K which are in the line of fire and every bullet or a mortar shell fired hits only the residents of this state on either side,” the Chief Minister said in a statement while expressing anguish over the killing of more civilians during previous night in fresh shelling along the International Border in Jammu.
The Chief Minister said it was painful to see everyday loss of precious human lives, destruction of properties and large-scale migration in border areas of the State due to the hostile situation prevailing along the borders. “The terrible images of an eight-month old child with bullet wounds on his body is perhaps not enough to shake the conscience of the humanity in the region and put an end to this senseless bloodletting,” she said and added that both the countries shall have to put an end to this hostility to safeguard the lives of the people.
Conveying her heartfelt sympathies and solidarity to the families of victims of firing on borders, Mehbooba said there is no reason why the political leadership of our country and the that of Pakistan not employ similar peace offensive as the one initiated by Vajpayee so that the hawks on both side are silenced and the people of J&K get a reprieve from constant war and threat of it.
The Chief Minister said while people in mainland have heaved a sigh of relief due to the magnanimous unilateral ceasefire announced by the Central Government, time has come to extend this CBM along the borders as well for which onus lies with Pakistan also to respond positively in the larger interest of peace and stability in the region.
However, Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah was today summoned and a strong protest was lodged over the killing of a seven-month-old infant in unprovoked ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bhimber sector.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it was conveyed to Shah that the “deliberate targeting” of innocent civilians by Pakistani forces using small arms and high caliber weapons is “highly deplorable and condemned in the strongest terms”.
“Shah was summoned today and strong protest was lodged at the loss of life of a seven-month-old infant in unprovoked ceasefire violations by Pakistan forces on May 21,” the MEA said.
It said Pakistani authorities were called upon to investigate such heinous acts of killing innocent civilians and instruct its forces to desist from such acts immediately.
“Targeting of innocent civilians including young children is against all established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct,” the MEA said.
It said the Pakistani side was also asked to end the support being given to cross border infiltration of terrorists, including through covering fire.
“Our strong concerns were also shared at continued unprovoked firing and ceasefire violations across the Line of Control and the International boundary,” it said.
The MEA said more than 1,088 such violations have been carried out by Pakistan forces at the LoC and IB so far during 2018 which have led to loss of 36 lives and injuries to 127 people.

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