Press Trust of india

Authorities advise border residents to not touch mortar shells

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Jammu, Feb 10: Authorities on Monday asked residents of Poonch district to avoid unnecessary movement during shelling and not touch the mortar shells lying scattered in various localities, after two days of intense firing by Pakistan along the LoC.

The heavy shelling of mortar bombs from across the border killed a soldier on Saturday.

There was no report of ceasefire violation by Pakistan after 8 pm on Sunday, officials said.

The heavy shelling of mortar bombs from across the border also triggered a forest fire in Mendhar sector and efforts are on to douse the flames, they said.

Naik Rajeev Singh Shekhawat, 36, was killed and three others were injured in the intense Pakistani firing in Degwar sector on Saturday, while several residential houses and cattle-sheds suffered damages in heavy shelling in Mendhar and Balakot sectors on Sunday.

“The Pakistani guns fell silent around 8 pm and there was no report of ceasefire violation by Pakistan from anywhere along the LoC,” an army official said.

He said the Pakistan Army used artillery guns and long-range mortar bombs to target forward posts and villages in the three sectors in the past two days. The Indian Army retaliated befittingly, resulting in a number of casualties on Pakistani side.

He said the army guarding the LoC are on high alert and keeping a close vigil as Pakistan is using the cross-border shelling to push militant into this side.

“The district administration has advised people to remain cautious and avoid unnecessary movement during shelling,” a police official said, adding that the local residents have also been directed not to touch the mortar shells lying scattered in different localities.

Nearly a dozen shells failed to explode during the cross-border shelling and are being defused by experts, he said.

“We are lucky to survive the intense shelling by Pakistan on Sunday. Life has become a virtual hell for the border residents due to frequent cross-border shelling,” Mohammad Aslam, 68, a resident of Drana village of Mendhar was quoted as saying by PTI.

He said the situation is peaceful today but nobody knows when the guns start roaring again.

“We appeal to the government to speed up the work on the community and individual bunkers for our safety. The 15 community bunkers and a few individual bunkers have been sanctioned for our village but only one had got completed so far while the work on the others is going on,” he said.

Aslam said he, along with his family, hid inside their house to escape the intense shelling.

“It is the grace of the almighty that nobody is our village was hit despite heavy shelling,” he said and demanded more individual bunkers to cover all residents in the village given its proximity to the LoC and frequent ceasefire violations from across the border.

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