Pak shells border villages, 5 civilians killed, BSF jawans among 40 hurt

Special Correspondent
Jammu, May 23: At least five civilians were killed while 40 others, including five BSF personnel, injured as Pakistan on Wednesday yet again violated the ceasefire and heavily shelled forward villages in three districts of Jammu region along International Border.
”Pakistan on Wednesday early morning again opened firing on more than 30 Border Outposts in three districts including Kathua, Samba and Jammu,” official sources here said.
They said that five civilians had died in the cross-border firing in Hiranagar sector of Kathua, Samba sector and R S Pura sector of Jammu.
”Pakistan is firing 120 mm and 180 mm mortars with automatics and small arms in Hiranagar, Arnia, R S Pura and also in Kanhachak areas of all the three districts,” said an official.
On Tuesday, 13 civilians sustained injuries in fresh escalation on border as Pakistan shelled border hamlets and targeted more than 20 border outposts in Jammu and Samba sectors.
”Two civilian deaths have been reported in Samba sector while one killed in Bobiya area of Hiranagar in Kathua and in the morning, one person was killed in R S Pura sector of Jammu,” official sources added.
SSP Kathua Sridhar Patil said that one person identified as Ram Pal, resident of Bobiya, Hiranagar had died in cross-border firing while firing is still on.
Meanwhile SSP Samba Anil Magotra said that two civilian deaths were reported in the area besides some injuries. He said that police teams and administrative officers are on job and have launched rescue operation to shift injured to the hospital.
SSP of Jammu headquarters Ramesh Kotwal said that one civilian had died in the morning in R S Pura while two persons were injured in Arnia sector.
“Firing was still on,” he added.
One person identified as Raghubir Singh from R S Pura succumbed to his injuries thus taking the death toll to five.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police S P Vaid had tweeted, ”In a night long shelling/firing from across the border at Jammu International Border Kathua to Akhnoor so far, four deaths have taken place and 30 injured, very sad indeed.”
Official sources said that Pakistani Rangers resumed heavy mortar shelling in Arnia sector after a few hours break, which lasted throughout the night and is still continuing.
Some of the injured were identified as Shamo Devi, 35, resident of Glar, Samba, Child namely Krishna, while three BSF personnel also suffered injuries and have been shifted to the Ramgarh hospital after evacuation.
The jawans were posted at Ballad forward post in Samba, they added.
Meanwhile, District Administrations has made elaborate arrangements to provide basic facilities to those migrated to temporary shelter camps established at R S Pura, Arnia, Samba and Kathua in government buildings. Around 1,500 villagers hit by border firing are camping in these shelters.
Police and BSF personnel besides district administration men are on job and shifting injured to the hospital while people have been shifted to the safer locations.
“The administration has made all required arrangements at the relief camps,” Arun Manhas, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Jammu here said.
He said that doctors are on job and providing first aid and immediate treatment to the injured persons while veterinary doctors are also taking care of injured cattle, adding, ”we have identified panchayat ghars, government schools, temples, community halls to accommodate border shelling victims and they are being provided all facilities at these shelters.”
On Monday, five people, including a policeman, suffered injuries while an infant also died in Pallanwala sector. Pakistani Rangers also opened fronts in the adjoining Ramgarh and R S Pura sectors.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also visited border areas on Monday and met with the families of border firing victims.
On May 18, a BSF jawan was martyred and four civilians were killed in the firing in Arnia and R S Pura sectors.
Former Minister Choudhary Lal Singh in a series of tweets has blamed those advocating ceasefire with terrorists and dialogue with Pakistan for bloodbath across Jammu region on the International Border (IB) as well as Line of Control (LOC).
Singh conducted a whirlwind tour of the ceasefire affected villages on the International Border (IB) in the twin Districts of Samba and Kathua and met with the families of those who have lost their kith and kin during the last fortnight.
He was accompanied by Deputy Commissioner Samba Dr. Rajinder Singh Tara and other officials.
Talking to the people, Singh said that he shared the grief and pain of those who have been bearing the brunt of the Pakistani Terrorist state for having chosen to stay in the areas around International Border (IB) in Jammu region.
“These tragic scenes fail to move those who are in Power in Jammu and Kashmir. They still want to hold a dialogue with a state whose only contribution to the whole world has been export of terror. We have been facing bullets and shells since years, primarily because all our policies are Kashmir centric and actions, Kashmir oriented,” said Choudhary.
Later, Choudhary Lal Singh tweeted from his handle @LalSinghChBJP “Why no outrage? My 11 civilians have lost lives in ceasefire violations by Pakistan. We are weeping and wailing. Why this silence? Those advocating ceasefire with terrorists and dialogue with Pakistan are directly responsible for this bloodbath in the holy month of Ramadan.”
Meanwhile Minister for Health and Medical Education Dr Devender Kumar Maniyal today toured the shelling hit border areas in Samba and interacted with affected families.
The Minister also took on the spot appraisal of the medical facilities available in health centers.
He also received brief from the district administration regarding the measures put in place to provide necessary help to the affected people.
He was accompanied by DC Jammu, DC Samba, SSP Samba, Director Health Jammu, CMO Jammu, CMO Samba and other officials.
He directed the administration to maintain close coordination with people and provide every help in case of any emergency. He also asked them to provide 24X7 helpline numbers of the control rooms to the people.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu Hemant Kumar Sharma also visited relief camps set up in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts to provide shelter to the people displaced due to the cross border firing.
The Divisional Commissioner visited the shelter camps established at Londi in Hiranagar district of Kathua, at Chichi Mata Temple Complex and Radha Swami Ashram in district Samba and Government Higher Secondary School Sleahar, Arnia in Jammu district.
The Div Com interacted with the displaced people and listened to their problems and grievances.
The Div Com directed concerned officers to provide all required basic facilities to the displaced people. The relief to be provided to the affected families includes pucca shelter, beddings, food, medicines, public utilities etc.