400 J&K border villagers shifted amid heavy firing by Pakistan

Border dwellers have been experiencing sleepless nights due to the intensified shelling and firing by Pakistani Rangers

Over 400 people were evacuated from J&K border villages on Friday using bullet proof vehicles in an overnight evacuation operation carried out by security forces.

Border dwellers in Bobiya and adjoining hamlets in Hiranagar sector in Kathua district have been experiencing sleepless nights due to the intensified shelling and firing by Pakistani Rangers on October-20 and 21, a news agency reported.

The report said police armed with bullet-proof vehicles crossed the shell-hit hamlets, particularly Bobiya last night, carrying loads of scared villagers. They were ferried to the camps setup by the district administration at government higher secondary school in Hiranagar and another school at Chhan Khatrian.

“Due to heavy firing and shelling for two days and the fear psychosis among the border residents, we pressed into service bullet-proof vehicles to evacuate them,” Deputy Commissioner Kathua, Ramesh Kumar said.

The DC added  over 400 people from IB hamlets were evacuated and shifted to the safer areas in camps set up by the government.

“We have asked the authorities to ensure safety of the people as firing and shelling exchanges have increased. We don’t want civilian to suffer”, IG BSF Jammu Frontier, DK Uphadayaya said.

Deputy Commissioner, Kathua Ramesh Kumar and SSP Kathua Pawan Parihar village and joined the evacuation operation of 232 people.

The residents evacuated from those areas were accommodated in Government Higher Secondary school, Hiranagar while 145 people of Londi and Rajgrain Brahamana were lodged in Government Middle School, Chhan Khatrian. Some families had left for the houses of their relatives, DC said.

“We were very terrorised this time due to heavy shelling and firing by Pakistan,” Manak Chand of Bobiya said at camp in Hiranagar Border.

“The windows of our houses were shaking with the sound of mortar bombs and firing of heavy weapons. It as unbearable to stay in home after being witness to the two days of firing,” a resident said.

Like him, Sukho Devi migrated from the hamlet several times and this is another exodus from her border home.

“We have fled homes several times in the past few decades and before that in wars.It is now a routine for us as border people live in the jaws of deaths.You never know what is going to happen next moment,” she adds.

Some people returned to their villages this morning leaving behind the elderly, women and children in migrant camps in Hiranagar because they have to take care of the harvest season.