Two Women Killed, 2 BSF Jawans Among 16 Injured In Unabated Shelling

8 October 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Continuing its shameless acts of directly targeting the civilian locations, which is unheard of even during the war times, Pakistani Rangers fired mortar shells in civil areas along the entire International Border (IB) from Kathua to Akhnoor throughout the last night and resumed it in similar manner at about 9 pm tonight killing two innocent women and injuring 16 others including two BSF personnel and 14 civilians and causing massive destruction of houses and other structures in the border villages. Meanwhile, nearly 20,000 people including about 7500 alone in Hiranagar sector, have deserted their houses in forward areas on the IB from Hiranagar to Akhnoor, and taken shelter in safer locations identified by the administration for them. Authorities were in the process of identifying more locations in safer areas to accommodate the people as they were anticipating more migration from the border villages due to continued shelling and firing from Pakistan side, which has so far taken eight lives of civilians including five women and left scores of others including Army and BSF personnel wounded. About 70 BSF posts and 150 odd villages were pounded by Pakistan from Kathua to Akhnoor overnight as well as tonight. The BSF jawans retaliated effectively at all the places with equal caliber of weapons. Pakistan side, according to available reports, has suffered extensive damage in retaliatory firing by the BSF. Pakistan has claimed that their several civilians and Rangers were killed and there was heavy loss of infrastructure and property on their side of the IB. Heavy exchanges were going on till midnight tonight when the reports last came in. A mortar shell fell on the house of Chaman Lal son of Bansi Lal at Sui, Kanachak at 11 pm tonight causing him serious injuries. Another shell landed in Kanachak town at 11.30 p.m. tonight injuring Pappu S-o Munshi Ram. Police parties from Kanachak led by SDPO Sanjay Parihar shifted the injured to the GMC Jammu. Sources said a shell fell in the house of Kunj Lal at village Bachyal in Kanachak sector, which is five kilometers away from the IB at 11.30 pm tonight, which indicated use of very long range mortars by the Rangers as village Bachyal is considered to be safe and people hadn't migrated from there. There was very heavy mortar shelling in entire 198 kilometers long IB from Hiranagar to Pargwal from 9 pm onwards tonight and it was going on when the reports last came in. Sound of shelling was being heard in the towns, which indicated intensity of the shelling and heavy fire arms used long range shells being used by the Rangers. As civilians, who hadn't migrated from forward areas, were keeping lights off and staying indoors or in the bunkers during the night, Pakistani Rangers resorted to direct mortar shelling on the civilian houses at about 8 am when most of the women were working in premises of their houses, kitchen or other places in Samba, Arnia, and RS Pura sectors today. An 82mm mortar shell fell inside the house of 60 years old Booti Ram at village Chilyari in Samba sector and exploded with a deafening sounding causing killing two women including Booti Ram's wife and daughter-in-law on spot and injuring five others, four in the same house and a young girl in the neighbourhood. The house was extensively damaged. SSP Samba Anil Magotra, Deputy Commissioner Samba Mubarak Singh along with police teams rushed to the spot and evacuated injured to the hospital, where Shakuntla Devi, 55, wife of Booti Ram and her daughter-in-law Poli Devi, 35 were declared as dead while five others were admitted in the Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu. The injured included Booti Ram, his 40 years old son Saudagar Mal, Kuldeep Kumar, 15 and Koshal Kumar, 13, both sons of Saudagar Mal. A 21 years old girl Meenu Devi wife of Ajay Kumar was injured in the neighbourhood. Condition of all the injured was stated to be serious. Eighty years old Kartar Chand, who is perhaps the elderly villager in border village of Chilyari, located about three kilometers inside the International Border in Samba sector, told the Excelsior that he was witness to 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars, several skirmishes between the two sides, ceasefire violations and migrations but never in the life he has seen Pakistan directly targeting the civilian houses with the clear objective of killing them. 'Pakistan Rangers are directly aiming the civilian houses. This is ridiculous,' Kartar Chand said while sitting under the shade of a tree and refusing to migrate along with his family members. 'I have spent 80 years here. I didn't migrate even during 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan and I will not migrate even now,' he said as he saw the tractor-trolleys loaded with people shifting towards safer locations. Incidentally, the family of Booti Ram had migrated to safer location at village Paloora last night and returned to their houses about 7 am after overnight shelling had stopped. In fact, several villagers had been adopting this strategy as they shift to migrant camps during the night when Pakistan starts shelling and return in the morning. However, to kill the innocent civilians, the Pakistan today fired mortars during the day at several places in Samba, Arnia and RS Pura sectors. Worthwhile to mention here that Chilyari is the same village, where the security forces had detected a long tunnel on July 27, 2012, dug by Pakistan to infiltrate militants into this side. Targeting Booti Ram's house is not an isolated case. The Rangers also directly targeted kullahs of Gujjars in Joura Farm in RS Pura sector almost at the same time they shelled Booti's house at 8 am. Two kullahs of Mohammad Qazi, 58 and Dawood Gujjar, 35, were directly hit with mortar shells in Joura Farm leading to injuries to all six family members present inside and killing 22 cattle apart from seriously injuring another. Here also, the Gujjars were working outside their kullahs grazing cattle and cutting grass for them when the Rangers pounded their kullahs directly with mortars at Joura Farm, which too was about 2.5 kilometers inside the International Border. The cattle were also hit all over with splinters of the mortar shells. The Gujjars lost 14 buffaloes and eight goats in the shelling while another buffalo was injured. Police personnel shifted the injured civilians to the Government Medical College, Jammu in serious condition. They have been identified as Mohammad Qazi, 58, son of Imam Din, Ishrat Ali, 32, son of Makhan Din, Bhanoo Bibi, 25, wife of Ishrat Ali, Mohammad Rafiq, 9, son of Ishrat Ali, Dawood Gujjar, 35, son of Kaka Gujjar and Ghulam Fatima, 30, wife of Mohammad Hanief. Two Gujjar women were killed in same village of Joura Farm in RS Pura sector in Pakistan shelling in the month of August this year. Two BSF posts of Pittal and Chinaz were hit by mortar shells in Arnia sector in early hours of this morning causing injuries to two BSF personnel including ASI Manidan Singh and constable Vivek Kumar of 192 BSF. The BSF jawans evacuated them from the forward posts and shifted them to the GMC Jammu. As already reported, three Army personnel and a BSF jawan were injured in Pakistan shelling on the LoC and IB respectively last night. A mortar shell fell on the house of Om Prakash in Arnia town due to which wall of the house collapsed causing injuries to his 50 years old wife Samriti Devi. Police teams led by SHO Arnia police station including Inspector Kulbir Singh Choudhary rushed to the spot and shifted the injured to hospital. For second consecutive night yesterday, a mortar shell fell on Arnia police station causing damage to boundary walls of the family quarters but the police personnel had miraculous escape. Mortar shells continued to rain in Arnia town, Main Market, Bus Stand and border villages of Devigarh, Kaku-De-Kothe, Mashan-De-Kothe, Sei, Treva and surroundings causing extensive damage to the property of civilians and killing and injuring cattle left behind the people, majority of whom had deserted the town and taken shelter in relief camps set up by Army and police including Rehal and Deoli in Bishnah and Slair at Arnia. Arnia town appeared to be a ghost town with only cattle and dogs seen in the town and no movement of the civilians, who had left for the migrant camps. The shops and business establishments were closed. The transport was off. Only few trolleys could be seen ferrying the people from border areas to the relief camps. However, the BSF and police personnel could be seen strengthening their positions. The number of migrants at Rehal, Deoli and Slair migrant camps in Arnia and Bishnah was swelling with every passing hour. In RS Pura sector, the shelling continued in the entire sector, leading to more migration from the forward villages. Heavy shelling was reported in RS Pura overnight and this morning from Kharkola, Allah Mai De Kothe, Mangral, Sangral, Khatmarian, Abdullian, Tube No. 5, Suchetgarh, Octroi, Kapurpur, Nawa Pind, Jugnu Chak, Kishan Post, Joura Farm, Gharani, Gharana, Korotana Khurd, Suchetgarh, Flora and Chandu Chak etc. Apart from Joura Farm, several cattle were killed or injured in other villages of RS Pura. People from forward villages of RS Pura have been camping at ITI building, higher secondary school, RS Pura and some religious places. People from several border villages of Samba have shifted to Narsingh Mandir, Nanath Ashram, Treli temple in Ghagwal, Chichi Mata Ji temple and Community Hall Samba after overnight shelling in the border villages while villagers of Ramgarh, Chamliyal, SM Pur, Dug, Nanga, Rangoor and surroundings in Ramgarh sector of Samba have been lodged in Avtaal Community Hall, Avtaal higher secondary school, Ramgarh higher secondary school and an Ashram. All forward villages of Samba were shelled last night by Pakistan but there were no casualties or damage on the Indian side. District administration of Kathua has established 16 relief camps, where more than 6000 migrants from 43 border villages have been lodged. Authorities have notified the relief camps, where the border migrants loaded in tractor-trolleys and other modes of transport continued to pour in from forward villages of Paharpur, Chan Lal Din, Pansar, Manyari, Rathua, Rajpura, Sathian, Mangu Chak, Bobiya and Regal, where shelling and firing was reported overnight. Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Dr Shahid Iqbal, SSP Kathua Mohan Lal, Additional SP Kathua Yogesh Sharma and SDPO Kathua Diwakar Singh supervised establishment of relief camps and facilities for the migrations, Iqbal said a total of 57 villages have been affected directly or indirectly due to Pakistan firing and shelling. Meanwhile, the DC Kathua has ordered that schools of Mareen and Hiranagar zones will remain closed for two more days. There was no let up in Pakistan firing and shelling in Kanachak and Pargwal sectors. The shelling continued till this morning. Additional SP Jammu ML Kaith said heavy shelling was reported last night from Kanachak, New Kanachak, Gol Pattan, Garkhal, Beli Azmat, Alfa Machail, Hamirpur Kona, Pargwal and surrounding areas of Kanachak and Pargwal sectors. He said the border migrants were being accommodated at Government higher secondary school Pargwal, Government high school Rajpura and Radha Swami Satsang Ghar at Pargwal while more locations have been identified for them at Jhiri and Marh if there was further migration from the borders. _______________________________________________ Family in GMC, cremation delayed: As the destiny would have it, the cremation of Shakuntla Devi and her daughter-in-law Poli Devi couldn't be performed today as their all four family members were injured and were undergoing treatment in the GMC Jammu. The women were killed at 8 am today in their house at village Chilyari in Samba sector and after post-mortem and completion of other legal formalities, their bodies were kept in mortuary of the GMC Jammu. While Shakuntla Devi and Poli Devi were killed, Shakuntla's husband, Booti Ram, son Saudagar Mal (who happens to be husband of Poli Devi) and grand children Kuldeep and Koshal were in the GMC and underwent surgeries, DC Samba Mubarak Singh said. Police tonight said that cremation of both the women will be performed tomorrow at village Rehiyan in Chilyari area of Samba. It would be known only tomorrow as to who will lit the pyres of two women as their four kin will not be able to attend cremation in view of their surgeries. Some close relatives were likely to lit the pyres, police said.