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In Jammu's Border Villages, Bunkers a Temporary Solution. Residents Flee Homes

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In Jammu's Border Villages, Bunkers a Temporary Solution. Residents Flee Homes

Evacuation in progress at the border villages of Jammu.

Jammu:  Underground bunkers provide the only safety zone for hundreds of people in this part of Jammu's Samba sector near Manguchak post.

On Wednesday, a Border Security Force personnel died in this area. The shelling over the last two days has hit Ban Gillad village the hardest. Several of the nine people injured belong to this village. (Read: Pakistan Firing: Top 10 Developments)

Most houses have suffered various degrees of damage - at the very least, they are pockmarked with holes. A lot of shells are scattered around - some of them unexploded.

The residents come to the bomb shelters when the shelling begins, particularly at nights. These are rudimentary shelters built underground. Just 200 metres away, BSF bunkers have been taking a heavy pounding.

At the village, people want strong action against Pakistan. Jammu had voted overwhelmingly for the BJP in the recently concluded assembly elections. The BJP had bagged all six seats in Samba and Kathua districts.

"The government should give a befitting reply to Pakistan," said a fleeing resident.

But these bomb shelters are not really a solution. Each can hold only 12 persons. There are no facilities to stay for a day or more.

The administration has been trying to move away as many people as possible to safety.  Police buses, mini-trucks -- the administration has pressed into service as many vehicles as possible and so far, around 1,000 people have been shifted from Samba and Hira Nagar.

But people can be moved out only after the firing stops from the Pakistani side.

"We are still here and have nowhere to go," said a resident of Ben Gillad. "We have never witnessed such massive firing during the night."

And there are those who don't want wish to leave home and hearth. "But we have no choice," said a woman fleeing with her family.


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