Jammu: Pakistani troops targeted villages and 13 border outposts in heavy shelling since last night along the border in Kathua and Samba districts in Jammu and Kashmir, leaving six civilians injured.
The latest round of ceasefire violations by Pakistan which started on New Year eve has left a Border Security Force or BSF jawan dead and seven others injured while five Pakistani Rangers have been killed in retaliatory firing by India till yesterday.
"Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked and heavy firing and mortar shelling on posts and civilian areas along IB in Samba and Kathua districts since 2130 hours last night," Inspector General of BSF Rakesh Sharma told PTI.
"BSF troops gave a befitting reply resulting in exchanges which stopped at 3 AM in the morning," the IG said, adding that Pakistan again started mortar shelling and firing targeting civilian areas since 7 AM and it is going on intermittently.
He said that all border outposts in three battalion areas of Samba and Hiranagar sub-sectors in Kathua district were targeted.
Four persons, including two women, were injured in Nauchak village in Kathua while 300 people have been shifted, officials said.
Two persons were injured in Baingallar border hamlet in Samba, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Samba, Anil Magotra told PTI, adding that firing exchanges were going on intermittently.
The injured have been shifted to hospital, he said.
The SSP said that buses have been kept ready for evacuation and "we are waiting for the firing and shelling to stop so that people are shifted to safer areas in shelter camps".
People have taken shelters in bunkers and are not venturing out, he said.
Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary told PTI that two women were among the four injured in the firing and shelling in civilian areas in Hirangar belt.
"300 people have been evacuated. Others may be shifted if required," he said.
Ambulances and doctors have been deputed at Hiranagar and three buildings have been made operational as relief camps keeping in view the volatile situation prevailing in the area, he said.
Eight BSF posts of Patti, Pansar, Londi, Bobiya, Chakara, Lacchipura in Kathua district and seven border outposts in Samba district, including Manguchack, Chilyadiya, Regal, Chachval, Ramgarh, Maluchack and Nanga posts came under fire.
All villages in Paharpur, Katau, Charu, Londi, Patti, Chakara, Lacchipura, Bobiya, Pansar, Manyari, Karol and Paharpur in Hiranagar sector, Khwara, Regal, Chilyari, Manguchak, Chachyal, Ramgarh, Maluchak, Suchetgarh Kullian and Mawa in Samba sectors were targeted by the Pakistani Rangers.
Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary along with senior officials is camping in Hiranagar to monitor the situation and coordinate relief and rescue operations.
All sarpanchs, panchs, lumbderdar and prominent persons in 57 border villages have been instructed to communicate to the public regarding safety measures. Relief camps have also been kept in preparedness, he said.
Last night, the force had thwarted a "major infiltration attempt" from across the border.
Under the cover of shelling and firing, the Rangers tried to push a group of seven to eight heavily armed militants from forward area of Chor Gali in Samba sector at 11.30 PM.
The alert BSF jawans spotted the militants intruding towards the Indian territory and opened heavy firing towards them. The militants fled back to Pakistan.