JAMMU: The number of people abandoning their homes in border villages of Jammu and Kashmir crossed 10,000 on Tuesday amid heightened tension following Pakistan shelling on the international border that killed a trooper on Monday.
"Following indiscriminate targeting of civilian areas along the international border by Pakistan yesterday (Monday), more people have abandoned their homes close to the border in Samba and Kathua districts," a senior official told IANS.
The officer said no firing has been reported from the Pakistan side on Tuesday morning. However, frightened villagers continued to flee the area on Tuesday.
"The number of villagers lodged in makeshift accommodations at safer places has crossed 10,000 and their migration is continuing today (Tuesday)," the official added.
After a day-long lull, Pakistani Rangers had violated ceasefire again on Monday by targeting border posts in Kathua and Samba sectors, drawing retaliation from BSF, reported PTI. There was no firing by Pakistan Rangers from night of January 3 till January 4 evening.
"Pakistani Rangers resorted to ceasefire violation and opened small arms firing in one post in Samba district and two areas in Kathua district late last night," officials told PTI.
"The number of villagers lodged in makeshift accommodations at safer places has crossed 10,000 and their migration is continuing today (Tuesday)"
Pakistan Rangers continued mortar shelling and firing at Border Security Force (BSF) positions in Kathua and Samba districts late Monday, according to the IANS report.
"Pakistan Rangers targeted more than two dozen BSF posts in Kathua and Samba districts yesterday (Monday). The BSF retaliated effectively to silence Pakistan guns," a senior police officer said, according to IANS.
There was firing on Bobiyan and Pansar forward areas along international border in Kathua district since last night, Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary told PTI, adding it was going on intermittently.
In Samba district, there were two rounds of small arms firing on Ballard post in Ramgarh sub-sector on Monday night, SSP, Samba, Anil Magotra said, adding that by and large there was calm along IB in Samba, reported PTI.
BSF troops retaliated to Pakistani firing, they said. There was no loss of life or injury to anyone.
Residents of border villages continued to leave for safer areas in view of the latest round of ceasefire violations by Pakistan since New Year's eve.
Over 3,500 people have migrated from border villages in Samba and Kathua districts.
Around 2,500 people have migrated from 11 villages in Kathua after shelling from across international border. 1800 people are in relief camps.
Administration has provided bedding, tarpaulin, blankets, ration, lentils, firewood, drinking water and other basic items at these relief camps, Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary told PTI.
Camp commanders and camp officers have been appointed for overseeing arrangements and provision of relief.
Committees of camp inhabitants have also been constituted for coordination. Rs 5000 each were given to the families of 5 persons injured during firing Monday, Choudhary said.
In Samba district, over 1000 people have been put in shelter camps in Chichi Mata temple, high school and other buildings.
"Pakistan Rangers targeted more than two dozen BSF posts in Kathua and Samba districts yesterday (Monday). The BSF retaliated effectively to silence Pakistan guns"
A trooper was killed Monday when the border outpost manned by him was hit by Pakistan fired mortar.
BSF Director General D.K. Pathak will visit the international border on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.
On January 3, two army jawans and a woman were killed while 11 people were injured in the firing.
On New Year's eve, Pakistani firing had left two persons dead, including a BSF jawan, and nine injured while five Pakistani Rangers were killed in retaliatory firing by India.