India, Pak armies trade heavy gunfire in Uri, Rajouri, Poonch

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Arshad Farooq

Srinagar, Mar 1: The India and Pakistan armies traded heavy exchange of gunfire in Kamalkote sector of Uri on Thursday night, forcing scores of villagers to flee from the area.
Officials said that one civilian was seriously injured and three residential houses suffered partial damage in the cross border shelling.
Eyewitness said that several families from Kundi Barjala and other villages of Kamalkote fled from the area after intense cross border shelling created panic in the whole area. Few families were shifted to administration allocated safe shelter while as others visited their relatives in Boniyar, Baramulla and other areas of the district.
Earlier police sources said that Pakistani troops fired mortar shells in the Kundi Barjala, Dulanja, Kikker, Kathi, Gawalta and several other villages of Kamalkote sector in Uri damaging several houses and injuring a civilian.
They said that Indian troops manning the fence along LoC retaliated the gunfire effectively.
Naseer Ahmad Baddan, a resident Kundi Barjala said that the night long shelling started at around 12:30 p.m on Thursday night and continued till Friday morning.
“The intense shelling created panic in the whole area. I took my family early morning and reached Uri market. We are six families here right now consisting of 18 members. Administration shifted us to higher Secondary School. We have our livestock back home. We appeal India and Pakistan governments to restore peace in the area,” he said.
Sub District Magistrate Uri, Reyaz Ahmad Malik said that six families were shifted to Girls Higher Secondary Uri after the night long shelling in Kamalkote sector and necessary arrangements have been made by the administration for the displaced families. “The shelling started at around 12:30 on Thursday night and continued up to 10 a.m Friday morning. Six families have been shifted to safer location and we are expecting more families, if the situation remains same. We have already made necessary arrangements to tackle any such situation, ” SDM Uri said.
He said that three residential houses suffered partial damage after Pakistani troops fired shells in the residential areas in Kamalkote sector of Uri.
A police official in Uri said that one civilian Reyaz Ahmad son of late Nazir Ahmad of Gagi Madyan village of Kamalkote suffered serious injuries after he was hit with a splinter in lower abdomen.
“He was taken to nearby hospital where from he was shifted to Srinagar for advanced treatment. His condition is said to be stable,” the police official said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan on Friday heavily shelled areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri and Poonch districts leaving a woman injured, the eighth consecutive day that it has violated the ceasefire.
Officials said Pakistan troops used heavy guns including Howitzer 105 mm to target civilian areas in Poonch.
“Pakistani troops resorted to firing and mortar shelling along the LoC in Krishnagati sector and it ended around 0130 hour,” an official said.
The firing and mortar shelling continued overnight in several sectors of Poonch and Rajouri districts, the official said adding the Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively.
A woman identified as Naseem Akhtar was injured in the firing in Mankote area of Poonch, officials said.
“About 1615 hours Friday, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by shelling with mortars and firing of small arms along LoC in Nowshera sector,” the defence public relations officer said.