Nearly 10,000 people have fled from border villages after the latest round of ceasefire violations by Pakistan which has left four jawans and a woman dead since New Year eve while five Pakistani rangers were killed in retaliatory firing by India.
50 villages and many border posts were targeted in Kathua up to 2300 hours on Monday and the shelling resumed around 0400 hours today, Deputy Commissioner Kathua Shahid Iqbal Choudhary told PTI, adding it was so strong that mortar shells landed about four kilometres inside the Indian territory.
The 82mm mortar shells landed in Sherpur, Chakra, Lachipur and Londi areas of Hiranagar sector, which are located deep inside Indian territory, he said.
BSF troops also retaliated resulting in exchanges till 0700 hours today, the DC said.
However, there was no loss of life or injury to anyone among civilians in the firing and shelling since last night, officials said.
In Samba, Pakistani shelling continued till 2230 hours last night targeting over 10 to 12 villages and several BoPs, SSP, Samba, Anil Magotra said.
Nearly 10,000 people have so far migrated from border villages, with 7,500 taking shelter in camps set up by the government in safer areas in Kathua and Samba districts.
Yesterday, Pakistani Rangers heavily shelled over 70 border hamlets and 40 BoPs all along IB in Samba and Kathua districts resulting in death of BSF constable Devinder Singh at Khwara BoP in Samba district.
On January 3, two army jawans and a woman were killed while 11 people were injured in firing by Pakistani troops.
On New Year eve, Pakistani firing had left two persons dead, including a BSF jawan, and nine injured.
The renewed ceasefire violations come barely two months after the last major escalation that left 13 people dead and displaced 32,000 border residents in August and October.
Over 550 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan occurred in 2014, the highest since the truce came into force in 2003. A total of 19 people, including 5 jawans, were killed and over 150 injured in such incidents last year.