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May 22, 1999
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Following the Pakistani shelling on the official residences of the deputy commissioner and the police chief of Kargil, the Jammu and Kashmir government today shifted the district headquarters to Chukthan, 10km from there.
A senior state government officer said the decision to shift the headquarters was taken after the visit of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah earlier in the week.
"We have only temporarily shifted the headquarters. When the situation improves the officials will shift back," he said.
Since last year, when the Pakistani shelling first began, the state government has also been planning to relocate the entire town to Sanku, 40km from Srinagar. But the move is being strongly opposed by the residents who say they cannot leave Kargil where they have been living for generations.
Both Deputy Commissioner Shailen Kabra and Senior Superintendent of Police Deepak Kumar shifted to their new offices at Chukthan today. They have also shifted their residence to the new temporary district headquarters.
Other important offices are also being moved to the new headquarters in a few days.
Some government offices were shifted to Sanku last month itself following heavy shelling.
"We had no option but to shift as the Pakistanis have been targeting the township with uninterrupted heavy artillery fire," said the officer.
Kargil town is deserted with almost 90 per cent of the population shifting to Sanku two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the town and its adjoining areas were shelled by Pakistani troops throughout the day today. But no one was injured.
A defence spokesman in Srinagar said the Indian Army used heavy artillery in both the Kargil and Drass sectors to reply to the Pakistanis.
He also said the operation to flush out infiltrators from the higher reaches is continuing and "there have been successes".
Reinforcements have been rushed from Srinagar to both sectors.
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