India, Pak Clash In Uri Again; Locals In Fear

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SRINAGAR (ONS) – Fear gripped several frontier villages in Uri once again on Tuesday as Indian and Pakistani border troops exchanged heavy fire across the Line of Control in Kashmir, breaking a tenuous six-week lull.

No casualties or damage were reported in the fierce 2-hour-long duel, but residents in Churanda, Patgaran and Lambardar villages were pinned to their homes throughout the day as the local administration closed down schools in emergency.

Defence sources said that Pakistani Rangers opened heavy fire from the Khwaja Bandi and Kalsi posts at around 9:30 this morning, targeting Indian positions, which retaliated from the Neka and Chand posts.

Locals said that the furious exchange of fire continued for well over 2 hours, dying down by 11:45 a.m.

Village head Lal Deen said that the army deployed additional contingents who sealed off the entire area.

“People had just started their normal day, and children were heading for school, but the sudden and powerful breakout of gunfire closed down everything,” he said.

According to the headman, people in many areas fled from their homes for safety.

“The fear was so strong that villagers did not dare even to feed their cattle,” he said.

“It was at around noon that we approached the army who allowed a brief period to tend the animals,” he said.

“The army suspected that Pak troops would open fire once again,” he said.

“Mortar shells were not used this time, but the exchange of fire was unusually fierce,” he said.

Today’s episode revived memories of October 16 when three locals died in the cross-frontier duel.

Recent clashes across the LoC have seen Indian authorities accuse Pak troops of violating a ceasefire generally holding along the frontier for nearly a decade.

An Indian military officer said that Pak counterparts had refused a flag-meeting after the latest exchange of gunfire.       

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Pak Refuses Flag Meeting 

Srinagar Pakistan has refused an Indian Army request for a flag meeting following last month’s ceasefire violation in Uri sector of the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir, a senior army officer said here Tuesday.

Speaking to the media in Baramulla town, Major General Bipin Rawat, general officer commanding (GOC) of the 19Mountain Division said: “Pakistani authorities have refused our request for a flag meeting after their troops violated the ceasefire in Uri sector last month.

“They even denied having violated the ceasefire. Yesterday (Monday) also, Pakistan rangers violated the ceasefire in the Uri sector.”

Rawat said the ceasefire violations were meant to assist infiltration from the Pakistani side.

“They want to infiltrate as many terrorists as possible into our side before the snowfall although some snowfall has already occurred along the LOC,” the GOC said.

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