Mortars, Rockets Rain In 13 Border Villages At Ramgarh, Arnia

Mortars, Rockets Rain In 13 Border Villages At Ramgarh, Arnia

20 October 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: A virtual war like situation prevailed in Ramgarh and Arnia sectors tonight with Pakistani Rangers resorting to heavy mortar and rocket shelling at 13 Indian posts and forward villages triggering migration from two more villages in Ramgarh in Samba sector while people in three more villages had packed up their luggage. During past about one week of shelling, this was for the first time tonight that the Rangers shelled forward villages in Ramgarh sector while it was after two days lull that heavy shelling took place in Arnia sector. Official sources told the Excelsior that Rangers fired 82 mm mortars, rockets and used other heavy weaponry targeting seven to eight forward villages and BSF posts at SM Pur, Narayanpur, Chamblyal, Nanga, SP1 and SP 2 etc at 8.40 pm. As rockets and mortars started landing in forward villages, people from SM Pur and Jasso Chak mostly women and children boarded trucks and trolleys and shifted to Radha Swami Satsang Ghar at Ramgarh town in the midnight tonight to take shelter. “Nearly 150 women from Jasso Chak and SM Pur had reached Radha Swami Satsang Ghar at Ramgarh till midnight tonight, where they have been accommodated,’’ sources said, adding the people of three more villages surrounding SM Pur, which were being heavily pounded by the Rangers, have packed up their luggage and were planning to migrate once the shelling stopped. However, the villagers of SM Pur and Jasso Chak migrated during shelling and firing as shells and rockets were landing either inside or close to their houses. SHO Ramgarh Inspector Satish Kumar, who was the only police official available in Ramgarh despite heavy shelling from across the border, said police was advising the people not to venture outside and stay indoors. He added that the people, who have migrated from SM Pura and Jasso Chak have been accommodated in Radha Swami Satsang Ghar in Ramgarh, which falls in safe zone and was out of the purview of shelling and firing. Reports said mortars, rockets and bullets started raining in at least eight forward villages of Ramgarh at 8.40 pm tonight triggering a wave of panic among the people. Few houses suffered damage in the firing and shelling prompting people to migrate in the night itself without waiting for the morning hours as they feared more shelling during the night. Reports added that simultaneously, the Rangers started shelling and firing at five to six forward villages and BSF posts in Arnia sector. Intense shelling was reported from Pindi Charkan, Pittal, Jabowal, Kathar, Kaku De Kothe and Channa. Almost entire Arnia sector was worst hit by the firing and shelling leading to a wave of panic among the villagers. “It’s a virtual war like situation. We have never seen such heavy shelling like firing of mortars and rockets. Even during heightened tensions in 2002 in the wake of December 13, 2001 Parliament attack, the firing from across the border was confined to small or medium arms,’’ some of the residents, who spoke on mobile telephone from Ramgarh and Arnia, said. The Border Security Force (BSF) retaliated at all the places in Ramgarh and Arnia sector very effectively giving an equal response to the Rangers. The BSF jawans sustained minor injuries in Arnia sector. “The BSF response was very effective, which was necessitated to silence the guns of the Rangers to save civilians living in the forward areas. The Rangers apart from firing at the BSF posts were directly targeting the forward Indian villages to cause civilian casualties, which was ridiculous as this was not done even during the war. As per UN conventions, the civilians can’t be targeted directly even in case of full scaled war,’’ sources said, adding in utter frustration, the Rangers were raining mortars, rockets and bullets from heavy weapons in the villages. Authorities have meanwhile, ordered closure of all Government schools in Pargwal sector, which directly falls in the firing range of the Rangers. Some of the Government schools, which were out of the firing range, have been kept ready under the Contingency Plan to meet with any migration. Prior to migration from Jasso Chak and SM Pur, the people from Suchetgarh Kullian in Samba sector had last night migrated to Kali Bari community hall near Samba railway station. Sources said the Rangers were deliberately targeting the villages to force migration of the people on the Indian side as they have suffered heavy losses in the BSF retaliation, which was necessitated to prevent well planned infiltration of the militants like the one witnessed on September 26 leading to twin terror attacks at Hiranagar and Samba in which 10 persons were killed and troops had eliminated all three fidayeens. Sources said the Rangers fired few shots at Kothey and Pansar posts in Hiranagar at 11.30 am during the day today and Nikowal in Pargwal at 6 am. Samba and RS Pura sectors remained normal today with no firing and shelling reports from any part. The Government has already put the Contingency Plan in place anticipating migration from the border areas due to continued shelling and firing from Pakistan side. Police today seized 58 rounds of 7.62 mm rifle from agriculture fields at village Sadwar in Rajpura area of Samba. The rounds were spotted by Balwinder Kumar son of Ramji Dass and Manohar Lal son of Krishan Chand, residents of Sadwar while working in their fields. Police have seized the rounds and were investigating.