Civilian injured in Pak shelling in Kathua

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 10/21/2019 12:37:13 AM

JAMMU, Oct 20: A civilian was injured on Sunday in Pakistani shelling along the International Border (IB) in Kathua district of Jammu, following which locals staged anti-Pakistan protest against frequent ceasefire violations.
The intermittent firing and shelling from across the border overnight was aimed at stalling some construction work in Hiranagar sector, officials said.
They said Pakistani Rangers fired from small arms and shelled mortars in Manyari-Chorgali area around 7.45 pm on Saturday, drawing retaliation from BSF personnel.
A house was hit by a mortar shell and caught fire. Owner of the house Syed Ali received minor burn injuries while trying to extinguish the fire, the officials said, adding that the intermittent exchange of fire between the two sides continued till 4.40 am.
Dozens of border residents staged demonstration against Pakistan for targeting their village repeatedly over the past one month.
“We are living under constant fear due to routine firing from across the border and want the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to teach Pakistan a lesson or otherwise stop the construction work,” one of the protesters, Rehman Ali, said.
He said locals are forced to spend night in underground bunkers as Pakistani Rangers start firing shortly after dusk to stall the work on the construction of a safety bund on the Indian side.
The protesters raised anti-Pakistan slogans and also set ablaze an effigy.
Demanding adequate compensation for Syed's family, Ali said, "Some days back, he lost one of his buffaloes in the firing and now his house turned into ashes. He had suffered loss worth lakhs of rupees."
He said Syed was lucky that his family had taken shelter in the underground bunker and escaped unhurt.
A team of revenue officials later visited the forward village to assess the damage.
"The damage will be assessed and the victims will be adequately compensated as per the norms," an official said.
Later in the afternoon, Deputy Commissioner O P Bhagat held an extensive tour of border villages covering Pansar and Manyari of Hiranagar Sub Division to assess the damages caused due to cross border firing.
At village Manyari, the DC visited the damaged house of one family belonging to nomadic community and assured them of every possible help from District Administration. Emphasizing the importance of bunkers, DC said that the lives of the family members were saved as they took timely refuge in the bunker.
The DC was also apprised on the spot that a team has already evaluated the damage caused in the cross border firing pertaining to this family and all possible help will be given to them from Red Cross also.
At Pansar, the DC asked the Sericulture, Horticulture and Agriculture Department to suggest ways for plantation on retrieved State land. Sericulture department was asked to submit project of Cocoon production or processing, Horticulture department was asked to develop fruit plant nursery whereas, Social Forestry was asked to plant trees that can be utilized as cash crops for proper utilization of this land.
The DC also directed the Rural Development Department to use the water from the perennial source to develop water conservation and soil conservation projects so that the water bodies developed, after landscaping and beautification can also be explored for border tourism avenues.
Earlier at Manyari, Bhagat also visited the spot where a play field will be constructed and asked the concerned officers to prepare a DPR for the same. He also listened to the grievances of the people and assured them of timely redressal.
He later had a brief meeting with BSF officers regarding harvesting of crops along the border so that the interest of farmers can be protected.
ADC, Ghanshyam Singh, SDM Hiranagar, Suresh Kumar, Officers of Sericulture, Agriculture, Social Forestry and other departments accompanied the DC during the visit.



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