Uneasy calm along LoC in north Kashmir as guns fall silent

Uneasy calm along LoC in north Kashmir as guns fall silent
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Uri, Feb 27: An eerie silence prevailed along the Line of Control (LoC) as Pakistani mortar guns remained quiet since Saturday in north Kashmir, where ceasefire violation from the other side has forced thousands of residents of frontier villages to flee to safer places.
A BSF jawan was martyred and three civilians, including a woman, were injured and several houses and a mosque were damaged after being hit by shells in Uri and Tangdhar sectors in north Kashmir.
Despite Pakistani guns fell silent since Saturday, people are reluctant to go back to their homes. The residents of affected areas, who have been evacuated to safer places in Uri sector, are praying for peace and demanded construction of bunkers.
The villagers said that it was the heaviest shelling by Pak troops since ceasefire agreed by India and Pakistan in 2003 on LoC and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate shelling and firing from across the LoC in Uri and Tangdhar sectors in north Kashmir.
Asserting that Pakistani troops violate ceasefire to help militants in infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir, General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Srinagar-based Army’s 15 Corps Lt Gen AK Bhatt on Monday said the militants are waiting in groups of 30-40 at different places along the Line of Control (LoC) to sneak into the state.
“Ceasefire violation is being done from the other side to facilitate infiltration of militants into the state. The incident (ceasefire violation) which happened in Tanghdar in Kupwara was also carried out to facilitate infiltration of militants,” Lt Gen Bhatt told reports on the sidelines of a Passing Out Cum Attestation Parade at Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) centre at Old Air Field in Rengreth on the city outskirts on Monday.
He said the militants are in a groups of 30 to 40 at various places along the LoC on the others side from Leepa Valley to Mandal to Rampur. However, he said, troops are already on high alert to foil any such attempt.
Official sources said that around 7000 people, including women and children besides elderly persons, were evacuated from Churunda, Silikote, Mothal, Hatlanga, Shoura Balkote, and Tilawari and other villages affected to safe places. Food, bedding, medical and sanitation facilities are being provided in Rehabilitation camp established at Government Girls Higher Secondary School Uri.
A free medical camp was established at the make-shift camp so that medicare facilities are made available round-the-clock. Moreover, a helpline has also been established to avail assistance in case of any eventuality.
After almost daily ceasefire violation by Pak troops on the LoC and International Border (IB) in Jammu region, Pakistan opened a new front in Kashmir valley last week, targeting forward posts and civilian areas in Uri, Tangdhar and Karnah sectors.
But, despite tense situation on the Line of Control (LoC) due to migration of hundreds of villagers following ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in Uri sector, as many as 15 people crossed sides in the weekly Karvan-e-Aman bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.