May 2018 News

8-yr Old Child, Woman Among 5 More Killed; 7 Jawans Among 26 Injured In Pak Shelling

23 May 2018
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Pakistani Rangers continued their brutality by targeting innocent civilians in all three border districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua since wee hours of the morning, killing five civilians including a woman and an eight-year old child and injuring 26 others, seven of them BSF jawans, inviting strong retaliation from the Indian side while as nearly 50,000 people stayed away from their houses in border areas of 5 sectors including RS Pura, Arnia, Ramgarh, Samba and Hiranagar, which were heavily shelled by the enemy. Click here to Watch video A 'crisis-like situation' prevailed on the borders with dwellers, who were staying in the relief camps, deprived of food, electricity and water while the injured were finding it hard to get ambulances for shifting the firing victims to hospitals, leading to massive protests in Hiranagar as well as in the Government Medical College, Jammu, where attendants of the victims confronted Health and Medical Education Minister Dr Devender Manyal, BJP State president Ravinder Raina and BJP MP from Jammu-Poonch Jugal Kishore and charged them with leaving the border people at the mercy of Pakistani troops. 'There has been complete collapse of the Government machinery in the border areas excepting police, which was engaged in evacuating people. There were no ambulances to take the people to hospital. At Hiranagar today, the people said the killed civilian would have survived if he had been provided timely ambulance. Similar was the story in other border villages with no specialist doctors to treat patients and no ambulances to shift them. In the relief camps, people were putting up without any food, electricity and water,' the border dwellers said, adding they left the houses hoping to survive in safer areas in the relief camps but it seems, 'we will die here in extreme heat without power, water and food'. Charging BJP Government at Centre and State with doing nothing for the border dwellers in the war-like situation, they said the people have been left at the mercy of Pakistani bullets and mortar shells. Sources said Health Minister Dr Devender Manyal had to face hostile crowd not only at the borders but also in the GMC Jammu with people complaining no medical facilities and no ambulances in the border areas. BJP State chief Ravinder Raina and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma also had to face tough questions in the GMC Jammu where they visited to see the injured of Pakistan firing and shelling. The migrants camping at the relief camps set up by the administration in safer areas were highly critical of the administration for zero facilities in the camps. Sources said it was in the absence of facilities that people were not living in the camps. Only few people, who have no other hope, continued to camp there. Two civilians including a woman and an eight-year old child were killed and 13 others injured in Bain Glard and surrounding areas of Ramgarh sector in Kathua district while two civilians were killed and three others were injured in RS Pura sector. Another civilian died and six others were wounded in Hiranagar sector. Three persons were injured in Arnia sector. SSP Jammu Vivek Gupta told the Excelsior after visiting all border areas that situation was tense on the borders as shelling continued through the last night and today till this afternoon. He said the people were being evacuated wherever necessary while majority of people have left for houses of their relatives or relief camps in safer areas. Gupta said two civilians were killed near their houses in RS Pura sector in Pakistan shelling this morning. SP Headquarters Romesh Kotwal, SDPO RS Pura Sourabh Parashar, SHO RS Pura Bishnesh Kumar and SHO Arnia Deepak Pathania were camping in the border villages to shift any injured. Two BSF jawans and a civilian were injured in Arnia sector. SSP Samba Anil Magotra said two civilians were killed while 13 others including eight civilians and five BSF jawans were injured in morning shelling and firing by Pakistan at Bain Glard and surrounding areas of Ramgarh sector in Samba district. He added that all injured have been shifted to hospitals while two dead bodies were handed over to the family members after post-mortem. A civilian was killed and six others were injured in Londi, Bobiya and surrounding areas of Hiranagar sector in Kathua district. Shamo Devi, 45, W-o Bahadur Ali and Krishan Lal, 8, S-o Vijay Kumar, both residents of Bain Glard in Ramgarh sector of Samba district were killed in Pakistan shelling and firing while two civilians killed in RS Pura sector were identified as Bhajan Lal S-o Karam Chand R-o Shamka and Raghubir Singh S-o Dharam Singh R-o Sattowali. Ram Pal, 50, son of Tiloo Ram R-o Londi was killed in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district. With this, death toll during last eight days of cross-border shelling and firing has gone up to 12. Two BSF jawans and five civilians have been killed in the shelling earlier. Large number of cattle have been killed and injured in Pakistan shelling in all five sectors, causing heavy financial losses to the border dwellers, the livelihood of a number of whom depends on the milk fetched from animals. Exact number of cattle killed or injured in the shelling hasn't been ascertained so far. 'There was huge destruction of property in the shelling with number of houses, cattle shed and other structures getting damaged after being hit by heavy 82mm and 120mm mortars and bullets, which were being used by the Rangers to directly target the civilian population in all 5 sectors,' sources said. Sources said Pakistan shelling in all five sectors of RS Pura, Arnia, Ramgarh, Samba and Hiranagar continued throughout the last night with brief intervals and there was no let up in the morning. Intense shelling stopped around 2 pm after which intermittent exchange of firing continued till tonight when the reports last came in. The BSF has been retaliating Pakistan shelling and firing very effectively causing several casualties and infrastructural damage to the Rangers, the exact details of which couldn't be ascertained immediately. Casualties and damages were far more in Pakistan than the Indian side, sources said, adding that more than one lakh people in border villages of Sialkot sector of Pakistan have deserted their houses. Meanwhile, reports said, more migration took place today from the border villages and, as per estimates, more than 50,000 people have left their houses for the safer areas including houses of their relatives and friends besides relief camps set up by the administration. In majority of houses, only one member of the family were putting up in the houses for safety of household goods and property. However, there were some people, who were still putting up in the border villages. Educational institutions remained closed in five kilometers radius of the border in view of Pakistan shelling. The life in the border belt along the IB in all 5 sectors has come to a standstill as farming, schooling, cattle rearing and everything else on which border dwellers survive have come to a halt due to shelling episodes. 'Several border villages in RS Pura, Arnia, Ramgarh, Samba and Hiranagar sectors were empty as most of their population has migrated,' sources said They added that people in over 90 villages in Arnia and R S Pura sectors have either been evacuated by the police force in bullet proof vehicles or have migrated themselves. The people, who have migrated to camps in the border areas and are at the forefront of Pakistani shelling, observed that they feel they are in a war zone with sounds of mortar bombs and rattle of automatic weapons booming in the area and deaths, injuries and devastation seen everywhere. They say they have never seen such intense shelling and firing since 1971 and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to go for war with Pakistan to sort out the issue once and for all so that those survive live in peace after the war. 'I have never seen such intense and heavy shelling since 1971. Even in war, we were not so much targeted by Pakistan. Now they are raining mortar shells on us', 78 year Bishan Dass of Arnia sector said. He said people living in border areas are dying in the shelling every year and it is our demand to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to go for a war with Pakistan and sort out the issue once and for all. Like him, Sattar Din Gujjar, whose Kulla along with 20 other Kullahs (grass cum mud house) was burnt in Pakistan shelling at Jora Farm in R S Pura yesterday, demanded that Pakistan must be taught a lesson. 'We want war with Pakistan to teach them a lesson. We are facing shelling for generations. This is the third generation which has lived under the shadow of death', Din said. In the hamlets, devastation is visible all around - blood stains on the floor, broken windows, injured animals and splinter marks on the walls. Dressed in battle fatigues and bullet proof jackets, jawans of the Border Security Force criss-cross borderline hamlets and paddy fields to take position to give a befitting retaliation to Pakistan. Some families that had initially decided to hold on to their homes have finally decided to move after intense shelling for past two days have forced them to flee border homes. 'We wanted to stay back but heavy mortar shells exploded at our house killing our cattle', said Bobiya resident Tarsem Singh, who has fled the hamlet on his bike along with his wife and minor daughter to save their lives. Police personnel are also making rounds of villages asking residents to shift to safer places.. 'I have never seen such intense shelling. It had happened during the 1965 and the 1971 wars. Such a large number of mortar bombs have not since fallen in Arnia town,' Ram Singh said. Sources said the situation is very tense in all 5 sectors in view of continued shelling and there was extreme panic among the people that anything could happen to them anytime. While most of the border dwellers are living with their relatives, over 3000 are camping in boarding and lodging places set up by the Government in schools. Over 2000 cattle have been shifted from various border hamlets to safer places. In Samba and Ramgarh sectors of Samba district, over 4000 people have migrated besides over 2000 from Hiranagar sector of Kathua district. Over 200 educational institutes have been closed for the next three days along the IB in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts by authorities in the wake of tension along the Indo-Pak border due to shelling. Seven BSF jawans injured in Pakistan shelling have been identified as Jagtap, 39, Vidya Sagar Pandya, 40, Nirkar Patti, 45, Asif Ali, Natha Ram, Tamilarasan and Tapaps Halder. They have been hospitalized and were responding to the treatment. Injured civilians included Ravi Kumar, 50, S-o Puran Chand R-o Arnia, Parsino Devi, 60, W-o Bachan Singh, Nirmala Devi, 50 , W-o Jeet Raj, Pooja Devi, 35, W-o Bal Krishan, Shivani, 2, D-o Bal Krishan, Shiv Raj, 14, S-o Vijay Kumar, Sohan Lal, 32, S-o Walyati Ram, Pari, 11, D-o Bal Krishan and Champa Devi, 37, W-o Vijay Kumar, all residents of Bain Galar, Ramgarh, Samba, Surinder Singh S-o Dharam Singh R-o Satowali, RS Pura, Sudesh Kumar, 47, W-o Ram Pal and Shiv Darshan Kumar, 49, S-o Dharam Chand, both residents of Londi, Hiranagar. Some other injured had sustained minor injuries. Meanwhile, Pakistan army tonight opened firing in Bhawani and Lam areas of Nowshera sector in Rajouri district. A civilian was injured in the firing.