A woman stands with her child near blood marks (left) and bullet holes (right) on the wall of a home in Najwal village in Pargwal sector of Akhnoor district, about 40km from Jammu yesterday.
Jammu: More than 40,000 people living in villages close to the International Border in the Jammu region are tense with fear after a night of shelling by Pakistan Rangers at 25 locations. They said yesterday they haven’t seen such fierce firing in 10 years.
“There has been no firing since this (Saturday) morning. But Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing at 25 places on the international border during the night,” a senior Border Secuirty Force official said.
“We have also killed an intruder during the night in Suchetgarh sector of the border”, a senior BSF official said.
In Jammu district, people living in Pargwal area, which is situated 40km from here, on the banks of the Chenab river, are worried they might have to leave their homes and villages for safety reasons.
Worried and tense with fear, they did not sleep through yesterday night as shells exploded in nearby areas.
The last time people living in this area left their homes was during the 1971 and 1965 wars between India and Pakistan.
Some residents of Najwal, Markoola, Jaman Bela, Maljodha, Matkoola and Nikkowal in the larger Pargwal area fear the worse is till to come.
“We haven’t seen such shelling in a decade. Smoke covered our village for hours yesterday because of Pakistan shelling,” said Surjeet, 39, a resident of Nikkowal village.
“Schools are now closed in the village and we fear the time for migration has already come,” he said. In the larger Pargwal area, there are at least half a dozen villages with a population of over 40,000. Residents have been restricting children and even cattle from venturing out for the last five days.
“Working in the fields has become impossible because of the shelling by Pakistan Rangers”, said another villager living close to the International Border.
After ten years, this luxury of peace for these people appears to be withering.
Since the beginning of this year, Pakistan troops have violated the ceasefire around 150 times in Jammu and Kashmir, and have done so at least 130 times in the Jammu region alone.
Two women and four children were injured in Pakistan shelling in these areas earlier this week.