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After intense Pakistan firing, J&K authorities advise people to not touch mortar shells

A villager shows the tail of a mortar shell after heavy shelling from the Pakistan side, in Mendhar Sector of Poonch district, on February 10.

A villager shows the tail of a mortar shell after heavy shelling from the Pakistan side, in Mendhar Sector of Poonch district, on February 10.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The authorities have also advised people to remain cautious and avoid unnecessary movement during shelling.

Authorities on Monday asked the residents of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district to avoid unnecessary movement during shelling and to not touch the mortar shells lying scattered in various localities, after two days of intense firing by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC).

The heavy shelling of mortar bombs from across the border killed a soldier on February 8. There was no report of ceasefire violation by Pakistan after 8 p.m. on February 9, officials said.

The heavy shelling of mortar bombs from across the border also triggered a forest fire in Mendhar sector and efforts are on to douse the flames, they said.

Naik Rajeev Singh Shekhawat, 36, was killed and three others were injured in the intense Pakistani firing in Degwar sector on February 8, while several residential houses and cattle sheds suffered damages in heavy shelling in Mendhar and Balakot sectors on the following day.

“The Pakistani guns fell silent around 8 p.m. and there was no report of ceasefire violation by Pakistan from anywhere along the LoC,” an army official said.

He said the Pakistan Army used artillery guns and long-range mortar bombs to target forward posts and villages in the three sectors in the past two days. The Indian Army retaliated befittingly, resulting in a number of casualties on Pakistani side.

He said the Army guarding the LoC are on high alert and keeping a close vigil as Pakistan is using the cross-border shelling to push terrorists into this side.

“The district administration has advised people to remain cautious and avoid unnecessary movement during shelling,” a police official said, adding that the local residents have also been directed to not touch the mortar shells lying scattered in different localities.

Nearly a dozen shells failed to explode during the cross-border shelling and are being defused by experts, he said.

“We are lucky to survive the intense shelling by Pakistan on Sunday. Life has become a virtual hell for the border residents due to frequent cross-border shelling,” Mohammad Aslam, 68, a resident of Drana village of Mendhar told the PTI on phone.

He said the situation is peaceful today but nobody knows when the guns start roaring again.

“We appeal to the government to speed up the work on the community and individual bunkers for our safety. The 15 community bunkers and a few individual bunkers have been sanctioned for our village but only one had got completed so far while the work on the others is going on,” he said.

Aslam said he, along with his family, hid inside their house to escape the intense shelling.

“It is the grace of the Almighty that nobody in our village was hit despite heavy shelling,” he said and demanded more individual bunkers to cover all residents in the village given its proximity to the LoC and frequent ceasefire violations from across the border.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:07:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-intense-pakistan-firing-jk-authorities-advise-people-not-to-touch-mortar-shells/article30783630.ece

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