Fear grips border villages as Pakistan Rangers pound civilian areas

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Jammu, May 22 (IANS) An all-pervading fear on Tuesday gripped scores of residents of border villages in Jammu and Samba districts following indiscriminate shelling on civilian areas by Pakistan Rangers.

At least eight civilians sustained injuries in shelling on Tuesday in R.S. Pura and Arnia sectors, police said.

Villages close to the International Border in R.S.Pura, Arnia, Bishnah and Ramgarh areas remained on the edge and residents were seen migrating out of these places with women and children.

Reports here said around two thousand villagers have already left home and hearth behind, running for safety with their families.

Those preferring not to leave their homes and agricultural fields remained indoors as district administration advised them not to venture out of their homes unless absolutely necessary and during emergencies only.

Gaping holes in residential houses and shells scattered in agricultural fields bore witness to the destruction caused by cross border shelling.

Wheat crop ready to be harvested in these areas is liking to shed grains if the situation continued for another week.

Villagers in R.S. Pura area said shells fired by Pakistan rangers have been landing 4 km inside the border thereby endangering lives and properties.

Locals say dozens of cattle have perished in Pakistan shelling while private properties have sustained huge damage.

Rajinder Singh, District Magistrate Samba told the media that all emergency arrangements for shifting the border residents are in place and if the present situation continued evacuation of civilians would be started.

State Education Minister Zulfiqar Chowdhary has said the education of children is the biggest casualty of border tension.

The minister said the state government is mulling an arrangement of organizing special schools for the affected children.



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