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Last Updated Tuesday August 08 2017 07:42 AM IST

Pak violates ceasefire in Kashmir's Balakote, nearly 1,700 evacuated from LoC

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Pakistan shelling: nearly 1,700 evacuated from LoC, relief camps set up Representational image

Jammu: Pakistan Rangers violated the ceasefire again Wednesday by firing on forward posts along the LoC in Balakote sector of Jammu of Kashmir.

"Pakistan army resorted to firing on forward posts along the LoC in Balakote sector from 0050 hours today," a defense spokesman said.

Pakistan troops also fired on forward posts and civilian areas last night along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district. The firing continued till 0130 hours, the spokesman said.

He said the Pakistan army initiated indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatic weapons and 82 mm and 120 mm mortars from 1830 hours Tuesday night along the LoC in Nowshera sector. The firing continued till 2100 hours Tuesday.

The Pakistan Rangers fired shells on the intervening night of May 15 and 16 on forward areas and civilian belts along the LoC in three belts of Rajouri district.

The firing and shelling from across the border has affected over 10,000 people.

Around 1,700 people have been dislocated from the areas close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district because of shelling by the Pakistani Army which continued through the last night, a senior official said Tuesday.

The Pakistani Army pounded hamlets besides the Indian Army posts in Nowshera and Manjakote sectors of Rajouri last night, Rajouri Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said.

"Shelling (by the Pakistani Army) started in Ans Bhandhaar areas of Nowshera in Rajouri at 22.55 pm Monday. Lam and Kalsian areas were also affected,” he said.

Earlier during the day Monday, the Pakistani troops resorted to firing and shelling in the Nowshera sector since 4 pm, the deputy commissioner said.

Choudhary said that four villages in Nowshera have borne the brunt of small arms fire from across the LoC.

Nearly 1,700 people have already been evacuated from LoC hamlets hit by shelling by Pakistan and shifted to relief camps, he said.

Around 120 officers from various departments have been deployed to organize facilities at relief camps.

"Inter-departmental teams deputed by the district administration for damage assessment reported small arms firing from 4 pm yesterday in Sarya village followed by firing in Khamba, Anwas and Bhandar villages," he added.

The DC said the damage assessment teams were withdrawn at 5.30 pm in view of the intermittent firing by Pakistan.

On May 14, the Pakistani Army had fired indiscriminately using small arms, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars in Nowshera and Manjakote sectors of Rajouri.

On May 13, authorities ordered closure of fifty-one schools in Nowshera sector and also Manjakote and Doongi zones.

The district administration has provided immediate relief of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the six people who have died in the Pakistani shelling and given financial assistance to the injured, Choudhary said.

Relief camps set up

Overall, of the 64 villages along the LoC in Rajouri, 23 are located in Nowshera sub-division where 8 villages are badly affected and remaining 15 villages sustained minor losses, while five villages in Doongi and nine villages in Manjakote have been affected, he said.

"Eight villages of Nowshera have been badly affected by heavy shelling which include Khamba, Sarya, Bhawani, Kalsian, Manpur, Danaka, Khori and Ganya. Nearly 1,700 people have been shifted to camps," he added.

"Fourteen buses, seven mini-buses, 14 other vehicles were pressed into service to evacuate the people from the forward areas," he said.

Cooked food, lighting, bedding, first aid, medical care, drinking water and sanitary facilities have been provided to the displaced people in the relief camps where Anganwadi centers and play-ways for children have also been opened, he said.

The DC said the administration is preparing to make more relief camps functional. Over 25 buildings have been earmarked for this purpose.

He added that class work of migrant students and local students will be resumed this week to ensure that education doesn't suffer.

Six teams of veterinary surgeons and para vets visited the forward areas where more than 50 injured animals were treated, Choudhary said, adding 12 animals were reported dead.

"Six ambulances have been pressed into action for shifting of the injured. One mobile medical unit was stationed at Nowshera and another deputed to forward areas," he added.

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