Jammu and Kashmir: Heaviest shelling by Pakistan in decades leaves villagers traumatised

5 persons have been killed and 26 others were injured in firing and shelling in Arnia belt

Arnia Border (Jammu): Blood stained beds, torn off roof-tops and windows punctured by bullets and splinters of mortar bombs are a mute testimony to the Pakistani shelling in the border hamlet where smell of cordite and gunpowder hangs in the air.

The overnight attacks by Pakistani forces that has left five persons dead has triggered panic among the border villagers.

"We have not seen such an attack of mortar bombs and heavy firing in the past several decades, even not during the August ceasefire violations. It was the worst attack on civilian areas", Kulbushan Kumar, a resident of Arnia town, told PTI.

Such was the intensity of the firing and shelling that 82 mm mortar shells landed in Mahasha Kote and Arnia town, which is around 5 kms away from the International Border in Jammu district.

Carcasses of animals killed due to splinter injuries are also seen strewn in Kaku-di-kotha and other areas. "Arnia town, which we considered a safe place, has also been hit by scores of mortar bombs that killed one person Ram Lal," Kumar said.

Read: 5 killed, 29 injured as Pakistan fires at Indian posts, civilian areas in Jammu and Kashmir

Most of the houses in Mahasha Kote, Pindi, Koku-di-Kotha and Channa village were hit by the bullets and splinters of mortar shells, which tore roof tops and walls of several houses besides breaking windows and doors.

"It is the worst attack. Five persons have been killed and 26 others were injured in firing and shelling in Arnia belt", Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Devender Singh told PTI.

Singh, who led the police rescue team and shifted the injured to the hospital even as firing continued, said, "Such firing has not been seen in the past. We have evacuated border villagers to safer places. Pakistan cannot be trusted".

Read: Pakistan must stop ceasefire violations now and understand the reality, says India

Bamroo Devi, who lost four members of her family in Mahasha Kote village, is seen seen weeping besides the blood stained beds in the compound of her house which was hit by mortars.

"What was our fault that they killed our family members", she asks.

A pall of gloom prevails in this village with people consoling those who have lost their near and dear ones in the firing.

"The State and Central government should learn from this tragedy and ensure permanent relocation of the critical border villages located close to IB", says Sarwan Singh.

The neighbours of Ram Paul, who was killed in the shelling by Pakistani rangers, are still in a state of shock.

"How can the shells reach us here as the area is six kms away from the border.It has triggered fear among us", Hardev said.

The blood-bath in the compound of Ram's house is now haunting the villagers, who are mulling to shift from the area.

"We want to now shift to safer areas", he said. Sunil Kumar, who lost a relative, said, "Around midnight we woke up to the sound of shelling which rattled windows and doors".

"Huddled in one corner of the room, we watched the house being hit by all sides by splinters and some of them pierced the windows but we all escaped unhurt," he said.

( Source : PTI )
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