November 2016 News

Desperate Pak Targets Innocent Civilians: 2 Children, 4 Women Among 8 Dead

1 November 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In worst ever shelling and firing along the borders, desperate Pakistani troops today targeted innocent civilian population in Ramgarh sector of Samba district along the International Border (IB) and parts of Poonch and Rajouri districts along Line of Control (LoC) killing eight civilians including four women and two children and injuring 22 others, three of them Army porters after which the Army and BSF retaliated killing two Pakistan army men opposite Nowshera and decimating 14 posts of the Rangers across Ramgarh and Arnia sectors on the IB. Such was intensity of the shelling that several mortars fell in Mendhar and Ramgarh towns, killing and injuring many civilians and causing extensive destruction of the property. Number of cattle perished in the shelling. As tensions escalated along both IB and LoC that covered almost all five border districts of Jammu region including Jammu, Samba and Kathua along the IB and Poonch and Rajouri on the LoC, the administration ordered closure of over 400 Government and private schools in these districts, which fall within the firing and shelling range of Pakistani troops for next two days. In Jammu district, 174 schools have been closed on the IB and LoC while 45 schools were closed in Samba district, 84 in Poonch, 30 in Rajouri and 62 in Kathua. Official sources told the Excelsior that the BSF retaliated fiercely and very aggressively to Pakistan shelling and firing this evening in Ramgarh and Arnia sectors along the IB in Samba and Jammu districts respectively and decimated 14 Pakistani posts, which had been targeting the civilian population in these two areas leading to killings, injuries and destruction of civilian property. After destruction of these posts in which several Pakistan army personnel or Rangers were killed and injured, intensity of shelling from across the border came down considerably in Ramgarh, Arnia and surrounding areas. 'The BSF action against the Pakistan army, which had taken over majority of posts from the Rangers, was necessitated to stop civilian killings and injuries as six civilians including two children and two women were killed in Ramgarh sector alone and many others were injured,' sources said. BSF DIG Dharmendra Pareekh wrote: 'in calibrated retaliation by BSF on IB in response to unprovoked firing and shelling of Pakistan Rangers in area of Ramgarh and Arnia sectors since morning, BSF targeted Pakistan Rangers' posts across the IB in same sector and caused heavy damage to approximately 14 Pakistani posts'. However, exact number of casualties suffered by Pakistan army and Rangers in destruction of their 14 posts was not known immediately but it was anticipated that those manning these posts were either killed or seriously injured. Earlier in the day, troops retaliated heavily to Pakistan shelling in Nowshera sector on the LoC in Rajouri district, killing two Pakistan army troopers. The Pakistani jawans were killed in a forward post, which was destroyed by the Indian side for targeting civilians and porters in Kallal, where four persons including three porters were injured. 'It's more than a war,' said a group of civilians in Ramgarh town amidst deafening sound of blasts of heavy mortar shelling. 'Even in the war, the civilians are not targeted. Pakistan army has been frustrated after suffering heavy casualties at the hands of Indian troops and, in the revenge, was desperately killing the innocent civilians,' they said and hoped that the BSF would give more aggressive response to Pakistan. Sources here confirmed that in most of the areas along the International Border, Pakistan army has taken charge of the posts manned by the Rangers to target the civilians. The Rangers had earlier suffered extensive damage of their posts and lost many personnel in retaliation by the BSF. Rangoor, Rangoor Camp, Nanga, Chak Babral, Jerda and Govindgarh villages in Ramgarh sector were worst hit by Pakistan shelling right from 6.45 am today. The people had started moving towards the villages and women were working in the kitchen while sisters were preparing to welcome their brothers on the occasion of 'Bhaiya Dhooj' when Pakistani mortar shells started landing deep inside the villages and into the houses, leading to killing and injuries of civilians. The people didn't get any time to take to the bunkers or other safer places as this was for the first time during ongoing skirmishes between India and Pakistan after September 29 surgical strikes that Pakistan targeted Ramgarh sector. This, according to sources, was done deliberately to cause civilian killings by Pakistan, whose army and Rangers were unable to take revenge with Indian troops after suffering heavy losses. Women and girls were hit by mortar splinters in the kitchen while two children, who died, were hit by the shells in outer premises of their house at village Rangoor. The BSF retaliated the shelling very effectively. Ravinder Kour, 19, daughter of Zorawar Singh was killed while working in the kitchen at village Jerda while Rishab, 7 son of Ramesh Kumar and Abhi, 5, son of Joginder Lal, were killed in the premises of their houses at Rangoor. Twenty-nine years old Anju Devi wife of Balkar Singh was also killed in Rangoor. Mara Ram, 60, son of Nand Ram of Rangoor Camp, who was seriously injured in the shelling, succumbed to the injuries in the Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu. A 32 years old youth Swaran Singh son of Mangal Singh R-o Govindgarh fell down due to the mortar shell explosion and died. A total of six civilians were killed and nine others were injured in Ramgarh sector. Six injured were now admitted in the GMC Jammu and three others at Community Health Centre (CHC) Ramgarh. Injured have been identified as Ashok Kumar, 45, son of Sai Dass, Muskaan, 13, daughter of Balkar Chand, Kamli, 50, Sushma, 29, wife of Rakesh Kumar, all residents of Rangoor Camps, Rakesh Kumar, 30, son of Mara Ram, Pari, 1, daughter of Rakesh Kumar, residents of Rangoor, Kapil Dev, 28, son of Girdhari Lal, Anjana Verma, 15, daughter of Kewal Krishan, residents of Nanga and Bhajan Lal, 45, son of Kathua Ram R-o Chak Babral. A woman, Sultan Begum and her daughter-in-law Maqbool Begum died in mortar shelling by Pakistan at Naika Panjgrain in Manjakote sector of Rajouri district this afternoon. They were working in the fields when mortar shells hit them, killing them on spot. Such was intensity of the shelling that several mortars landed in Mendhar town of Poonch district. Three shells exploded close to Mendhar police station and Sub District Hospital (SDH). While police personnel, hospital staff, patients and their attendants had close shave in the mortar explosions, a total of five civilians were injured in Mendhar in the shelling today. Three of them were injured in the explosion close to the police station. Soon after the shells started landing in Mendhar town, entire market in Mendhar, Balakote and Mankote was closed and people deserted their shops and fields to confine themselves inside their houses. Five civilians were injured in the shelling at Mendhar during the day today. They have been identified as Zubaida Bi wife of Mohammad Sharief and her three year old daughter Ruksar Bi, Mohammad Tahir son of Muneer Hussain R-o Sagra, Mohammad Sadiq son of Dil Mohammad R-o Malikpur and Shazia Kouser daughter of Azhar Mehmood R-o Dharana. They have been hospitalized. Intense shelling continued during the day today at Mendhar, Balakote, Mankote and Tarkundi in Poonch district and Manjakote and Nowshera sectors in Rajouri district. Indian troops retaliated the shelling very effectively at all the places. Four civilians including three Army porters were injured in the shelling at Kallal in Nowshera sector. The injured Army porters have been identified as Som Raj son of Paras Ram, Daljeet Kumar son of Dileep Kumar, both residents of Kallal and Prem Kumar son of Ashok Kumar R-o Rumbli Dhar. They have been admitted in the hospital and were responding to the treatment. Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Nowshera Harbans Lal visited the injured in hospital and border areas affected by shelling in Nowshera sector for on spot assessment of the situation. In Arnia sector of Jammu district, Pindi Camp, Kaku De Kothe, Treva and surroundings were hit by Pakistan shelling in the morning, causing injuries to four civilians, three of them women. They have been identified a Chanchala Devi, 36, wife of Pawan Kumar, Bodh Raj, 38, son of Dwarka Nath, Darshana Devi, 60, wife of Sundar Lal, all residents of Pindi Charkan, Arnia and Kamla Devi wife of Gopal Dass R-o Sai Khurd. Barring Ramgarh and Arnia sectors, rest of the International Border was by and large peaceful. Sources said after six deaths in Ramgarh, large number of people have shifted to safer locations. People in others borders villages have also moved to the houses of their relatives while some others have opted for lodgment centres. In Mendhar tehsil also, some people have left for Jammu. After celebrating Diwali in the houses of either their relatives or lodgment centres, some of the border people of Ramgarh, Arnia, RS Pura and Hiranagar had to celebrate 'Bhaiya Dhooj' also outside their houses today.