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Two killed in Pakistan shelling in Rajouri

Villagers take shelter at a bunker near their residence at Bhawani village in J&K’s Nowshera sector on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: AP

A 13-year-old girl was among two persons killed on Saturday as Pakistani Rangers resorted to shelling and firing along an extended area near the Line of Control in the Pir Panjal Valley’s Rajouri district. Seven persons, including four soldiers, were injured in the shelling.

“Heavy cross-border shelling was reported in the Nowshera sub-division of Rajouri from 7.30 a.m. and continued the entire day,” Deputy Commissioner of Rajouri Shahid Iqbal Choudhary told The Hindu.

Following the shelling, authorities decided to close 87 schools along forward areas in Rajouri.

The civilian victims were identified as Tufail Hussain (51) and Asiya Bi (13). Among the three injured, critically wounded Zaitoon Begum was shifted to the Government Medical College in Jammu, officials said.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Manish Mehta said the Pakistan Army opened “indiscriminate” firing on Indian positions. “Our troops are retaliating,” he said.

The worst-affected villages were Sarya, Khamba, Bhawani, Kalsian and Mahanpur, located within 2 km of the LoC. Dr. Choudhary said the shelling hampered rescue operations as the road to Jhangar came under repeated heavy fire.

“Overall 26 villages in Nowshera and Qila Darhal tehsils have been affected. Nine villages in Majakote tehsil of district Rajouri also remained in the line of fire for around three hours,” said Dr. Choudhary.

The widespread ceasefire violation has forced the migration of around 300 villagers living close to the LoC.

“Following evacuation of people from the vulnerable areas, three relief camps have been made operational and 28 others notified to cope with fresh migration from the affected villages in case of continued shelling,” said the Deputy Commissioner.

Dr. Shahid said heavy shelling also hampered the rescue and evacuation process as the road leading to Jhangar came under repeated heavy fire.

NC condemnation

National Conference president Dr. Farooq Abdullah and working president Omar Abdullah condemned the continued shelling from across the border. Expressing anguish over civilian deaths, Dr. Abdullah called for measures to ensure safety of the border villagers.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 5:47:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-violates-ceasefire-along-loc-for-third-day-in-succession/article18445620.ece

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