May 2002 News

Villagers begin packing as it’s all disquiet on the Western Front

17 May 2002
The Indian Express
Arun Sharma

New Delhi: There days after the terrorist attack on the Kaluchak Army camp which claimed 32 lives, the International Border and Line of Control (LoC) hotted up in the Jammu region today. Defence sources spoke of increased shelling, and exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops was continuing till reports last came in. Leaving Jammu. Reuters Pakistani troops targeted civilian areas along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts with mortars and rockets, said Defence sources. The affected areas in the districts included Khari Karmara, Salotri, Jhallas, Sawjian, Boriwali, Bhawani, Laam, Salotri, Kerni, Nowshera, Shahpur, Choki Chora, Bimber Gali (BG), Krishna Ghati (KG) and Balakote. Residents of around a dozen border villages in the Jammu region have also started packing up their bags and heading for safer ground. But a Defence spokesman here said though the level of firing in Samba and Hiranagar sectors has slightly increased, there was no reason to panic. ‘‘Sometimes, it does happen,’’ was all he said. According to Revenue Department officials, over 4,000 people have migrated from border villages in Hiranagar and Ramgarh sectors after mortar shelling claimed one life and injured four, including three BSF jawans in Samba. Rampaul was injured yesterday, reportedly by a Pakistani bullet, and he succumbed to his injuries today. Bharat Bushan, the sarpanch of Bobiyan village in Ramgarh sector, said ‘‘Pakistani shelling started last evening. We could not sleep throughout the night’’. The local administration has started providing for temporary housing. The tehsildar of Vijaypur, Onkar Saini, visited border villages in the region and assured residents that government school buildings were available for accommodation in case tension escalated. Saini said that he had already discussed the issue with the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu. Senior Revenue Department officials also visited Ramgarh and Hiranagar. And Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, B.D. Sharma, paid a visit to the Hiranagar sector, where he assured villagers that alternate accommodation would be arranged.


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