16,000 migrate from Arnia, Ramgarh
25 May 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Over 16,000 people tonight deserted their houses in 12 forward villages of Arnia and Ramgarh sector following shelling by Pakistan army leading to the killing of a civilian. Today evening, troops from this side smashed four Pakistani posts opposite Arnia and Ramgarh sector killing six enemy soldiers. The Pak posts were engaged in regular firing on the forward villages. SSP Border Gulzar Singh Slathia told EXCELSIOR that entire population had migrated from six forward villages in Arnia sector including Nikowal, Sei Khurd, Sei Kalan, Kaku De Kothe, Treva and Pindi Charkan. An approximated 10,000 people had left their houses in these villages till late tonight. The migration started at 1900 hours and was complete by 2200 hours. Some of the people left for the houses of their relatives while others took shelter in the Government school buildings. In Ramgarh, an estimated 6,000 people left their houses in Avtal, Avtal Camp, Natwal, Kandral, Buke Chak and Dag Jhera villages. Of them, 2000 people have taken refuge in Government school buildings while 4,000 others went to their relativesí houses, Slathia said. He said entire machinery of police and civil administration was geared-up to accommodate as many migrants as possible in the Government accommodation and arrange necessary items including food for them. All local police officers were camping at the spot, he added. This was the biggest ever migration in Arnia and Ramgarh sectors, official sources said, fearing that more people could migrate from adjoining RS Pura sector any time if the situation didnít improve. Meanwhile, reports said that four Pakistan army posts were completely destroyed by Indian troops opposite Arnia and Ramgarh sectors this evening. Atleast six Pakistan army soldiers were killed in the shelling. Shelling was in retaliation to continued firing by Pakistan army from these posts targeting civilian areas resulting into injuries to some civilians. Besides, crops in several hundreds of kanals of land was burnt in Arnia sector in Pakistan firing last week. A civilian Bachan Lal was killed when Pakistan army started mortar shelling in Korotana village in Arnia-RS Pura sector late tonight. Bachan Lal was packing off his luggage for migration when a mortar shell fell in the house killing him on spot and damaging the house, the reports said. Shelling was going on when the reports last came in. Our Kathua correspondent adds: Pakistan army resorted to shelling in Paharpur, Dulme Chak, Mangu Chak and Chan Lal Din in Hiranagar sector early today. People in these villages had already deserted their houses and were camping in the migrant camps. No damage was reported in the shelling as most of the mortar shells fell in the fields and exploded harmlessly, the sources said. Shelling was replied by the Indian side. Details of casualties or damage suffered by Pakistan army couldnít be ascertained. Other forward villages in Hiranagar sector remained calm since last night, they added.