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Pak shelling across LoC leaves 5 dead, 30 injured; thousands flee villages

06 October 2014

Pakistani troops resorted to overnight attacks, shelling in the border hamlet of Arnia that left five villagers dead and over 30 others injured. Heavy shelling that has seen no parallel in recent times, has left roof-tops and windows punctured with bullets and splinters of mortar bombs.

The civilian casualties were reported from the village of Arnia, about three kilometres from the border. Four of the five dead belonged to one family, according to reports.

The shells landed near a bus stand and houses in Arnia in the early hours of Monday.

The intensity of the shelling can be measured from the fact that 82 mm mortar shells landed in Mahasha Kote and Arnia town, which is around 5 km from the LoC in Jammu district and is considered a safe place.

"I've never seen such massive firing. Bombs were falling on houses," NDTV quoted Vijay Kumar, an injured villager, as saying.

Carcasses of animals killed by splinter injuries were also strewn in Kaku-di-kotha and other areas, say reports.

Most of the houses in Mahasha Kote, Pindi, Koku-di-Kotha and Channa village were hit by the bullets and splinters of mortar shells, which tore roof tops and walls of several houses besides smashing windows and doors.

Pakistani forces also shelled at least 10 Indian Army posts along the Line of Control, according to army officials in Kashmir. Gunfire continued between the two sides in those areas on Monday, they said.

The overnight attacks by Pakistani forces have triggered panic among the border villagers, forcing thousands to flee the area.

The Indian troops, meanwhile, also shot dead three Pakistan-based militants trying to cross into India while two other militants escaped back to Pakistan, reports said.

According to the Army, last night's was the 11th violation by Pakistan in October alone after the ceasefire between the countries in 2003.

With shells reaching up to six km across the border, people living near the border areas are now demanding that the state and central governments should ensure permanent relocation of the critical border villages located close to LoC.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley who was discharged from hospital today after a long illness said, "Let everybody be assured that our armed forces and paramilitary forces are fully ready and they are responding to each of these provocations from Pakistan."

The Border Security Force and the Army have been retaliating with heavy fire and Pakistan claims four of its civilians were killed in the firing from India last night.

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