Pakistani troops again pounded Nowshera area of Jammu and Kashmir near the Line of Control with mortars on Saturday, killing two civilians and injuring three and forcing evacuation of hundreds of people from there.
The Indian Army said it was retaliating “strongly and effectively” to the Pakistani Army’s indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatic weapons and 82 mm and 120 mm mortars which started at 7.15 am.
Pakistani troops targeted Jangarh, Bhawani and Laam belts of Nowshera in Rajouri district, officials said.
“Two persons have been killed and three others injured in the firing and shelling by Pakistani Army in Nowshera belt,” Deputy Commissioner of Rajouri Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said.
The deceased were identified as 51-year-old Tufail Hussain and his 13-year-old relative Asiya Bi.
Tufail’s wife Zaitoon Begum was critically injured and was shifted to Government Medical College, Jammu.
The Indian Army retaliated “strongly and effectively”, Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said.
This is the third incident of ceasefire violation by Pakistan in as many days and so far three persons have died and six have been injured.
In the wake of Pakistani shelling, schools along the LoC in Rajouri were shut for an indefinite period as a precautionary measure, officials said.
All schools situated along the LoC in Rajouri district were closed on May 11 for two days after a woman was killed and two others including her husband were injured in Pakistani shelling on the intervening night of May 10-11.
“We have now closed the schools along the LoC in Rajouri district for an indefinite period,” Choudhary said.
Schools have also been shut along the LoC in Balakote sector in Poonch and people have been asked not to move out in border areas.
A Border Security Force man had also suffered minor injury when Pakistani Rangers yesterday violated the ceasefire along the International Border.
After the Pakistani shelling, 270 people were evacuated from various areas along the LoC in Rajouri district to safer places.
“More than 200 people from various villages have been shifted to various camps established by district administration where facilities of ration, cooking, drinking water, sanitation, first aid and proper accommodation have been provided,” Choudhary, who is camping in Nowshera, said earlier in the day.
In the evening, he said two more vehicles carrying around 70 people reached Nowshera in the afternoon, taking the number of migrants to 270.
So far, three camps have been made operational and 28 others notified in wake of expected migration from affected villages, Choudhary said.
A fleet of six buses were inducted into Jhangar area at 4 pm for evacuation of around 400 people and shifting them to relief camps, he said.
“Six ambulances were pressed into action for shifting of injured and treatment. One mobile medical unit was stationed at Nowshera and another deputed to forward areas,” he added.
Rescue team of district administration also came under impact of shelling ahead of Nonial LoC area which led to suspension of rescue operation for around 3 hours later resumed in afternoon, Choudhary said.
Around 120 officers from various departments have been deployed to organise facilities at relief camp.
District administration provided immediate relief and financial assistance to the next of kin of the deceased and to the injured, he said.
The government had last month said that Pakistani security forces had violated the ceasefire 268 times in the last one year. Nine persons were killed in these incidents.
Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre had said some time back that between April 2016 and March 2017, the maximum of 88 violations were witnessed in November 2016 followed by 78 in October 2016 and 22 in March this year.
The ceasefire between India and Pakistan came into force in November 2003.