Heavy Mortar Shelling In Arnia Town, Villages

12 October 2014
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Two brothers were injured as Pakistan again intensified mortar shelling in entire Arnia sector throughout the last night causing extensive damage to several houses and breaking peace of two days, which had created a ray of hope among the villagers to return from the migrant camps. Pakistani Rangers continued to pounded entire Arnia sector on the International Border till early hours of this morning including Arnia town, Main Market, Jabowal, Kaku-De-Kothe, Mashan-De-Kothe, Chingia, Sei, Chinaz, Allah, Treva, Devigarh and surrounding villages, all of which have been vacated by majority of the people, who had taken shelter in relief camps set up for them at Rehal and Deoli villages in Bishnah tehsil. However, some of the people, who were still putting up in their houses in Arnia town, fled early morning to the relief camps after two civilians were injured when mortar shells fell inside their houses, official sources said. Surjeet Kumar, 38 and Som Nath, 50, son of Gurdass Chand were seriously injured when 82mm mortar shells fired by the Rangers fell inside their houses and exploded with bangs in the midnight last night. Risking their lives, police parties from Arnia police station led by SHO Inspector Kulbir Singh Choudhary evacuated the injured in bullet-proof vehicles and shifted them to the Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu, where their condition was stated to be serious. The houses of both the brothers were rattled with the mortar shelling and suffered extensive damage. Another mortar shell landed inside the house of Mohinder Pal at village Jabowal but didn't explode. In the morning, the Bomb Disposal Squads of BSF and police defused the mortar shell. Sources said several mortar shells landed inside the abandoned houses in Arnia town and border villages causing extensive damage to them. The houses of Bodh Raj, Dharam Pal and Surjeet Kumar had been pounded with three to four mortar shells damaging walls, window panes etc inside their houses. They pointed out that casualties in the last night shelling would have been very high had the people not migrated to relief camps as mortar shells fell inside over two dozen houses in Arnia town only while in forward villages also, the shells landed at roofs of the houses. Arnia town and Jabowal bore brunt of last night's shelling, sources said, adding nearly a dozen mortar shell fell around Arnia police station but the police personnel inside had narrow escape. 'Hardly any house was left in Arnia sector, which has not been hit by mortar shells and their splinters,' sources said. They added that while the people had left to migrant camps from Arnia sector, they have opened their rooms for cattle to ensure their safety. Despite shelling, the villagers were regularly visiting their houses in the morning to feed their cattle. 'Apart from civilian areas, about 15 BSF posts were targeted by the Rangers in Arnia sector and adjoining areas of RS Pura. The BSF gave befitting reply to the Rangers. The exchanges continued till early this morning,' sources said. Apart from Arnia sector, rest of the International Border (IB) remained calm for third consecutive day today. There were no reports of any shelling or firing by the Rangers in Hiranagar, Samba, Ramgarh, RS Pura, Kanachak and Pargwal sectors on the IB, which had earlier witnessed intense shelling and firing from Pakistan side. After yesterday's shelling in Kirni and Shahpur in Poonch sector, the Line of Control (LoC) also remained calm today. Meanwhile, about 33,000 border villagers continued to stay put in the relief camps in safer areas including Hiranagar, Samba, Ramgarh, Bishnah, RS Pura, Domana, Kanachak and Pargwal in addition to the houses of their relatives. The people were reluctant to return to their houses as they were anticipating resumption of shelling and firing from Pakistan side anytime like Arnia sector, which witnessed shelling yesterday after two days of calm.