JAMMU – At least seven residential buildings on Friday were damaged in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, as India and Pakistan troops exchanged heavy gunfire along the Line of Control (LoC).
The shelling from across the border in Shapur sector started around 1.35 pm and continued till 5.30pm, prompting a strong retaliation by the Indian Army, a police official said.
He said there was no report of any casualty on the Indian side, however, a residential building belonging to a widow was damaged in Qasba village, while six others suffered partial damages in Dokri village.
An army official said the Pakistani army started the ceasefire violation by resorting to unprovoked small arms firing and mortar shelling on forward posts and villages.
The Indian Army gave a befitting response to silence the Pakistani guns, he said, adding the casualties suffered by Pakistan in the retaliatory action was not known immediately.
Kupwara Sarpanchs Demand Underground Bunkers
Claiming that thousands of people are facing risk to their lives due to frequent border flare-ups, a group of village heads from Karnah area of Kupwara on Friday staged a demonstration here demanding construction of underground bunkers.
A group of Sarpanches from remote area of Karnah assembled at Press Colony here and staged a protest over the delay in constructing underground bunkers by the government. The protesters said the continued shelling by Pak troops has taken a heavy toll on the residents.
Abdul Hamid, one of the sarpanchs, said that residents of Karnah are highly vulnerable to getting killed or maimed by Pakistani shelling.
“There are regular ceasefire violations in our area and either people and cattle get killed or property is damaged. Our lives, livestock and property are in perpetual risk,” Hamid said.
He said that a ceasefire must be established at the LoC and there should be no violations.
“The 2003 ceasefire between India and Pakistan had given us a lot of relief,” added said.
Another sarpanch, Khalid Badana, said that 60,000 residents in the area have been living on the edge due to continued shelling from Pakistan.
He urged the government to construct underground bunkers on a war footing.
“Last month there was shelling from Pakistan and all of us were praying for our lives,” Badana said.
He said they recently held a meeting with Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir) Baseer Khan and apprised him of the problems faced by the border residents.
He said Khan has promised them that the government would construct bunkers for the people in Karnah, but the work is yet to start.
Badana said that people of Karnah want the government to provide at least three to four underground bunkers for the residents in every panchayat circle.
“The government should construct a bunker in every house or build at least four bunkers in each panchayat circle,” he said.
The sarpanchs said that Karnah remains cut off from the rest of the country during winters and the government must take up the region’s demand to construct a tunnel at Sadna Top to provide unhindered connectivity to Karnah. (With Inputs From Agencies)