Friday, May 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Heavy shelling by Pak
Indian troops retaliate, kill 12 enemy soldiers
Tribune Reporters

An Indian policeman is seen standing guard through a bullet hole
An Indian policeman is seen standing guard through a bullet hole in a mud house at a village, some 30 km from Jammu, on Thursday. 

Jammu, May 30
People from 20 more villages in Poonch and Nowshehra were evacuated to safer places after the Pakistani troops again resorted to heavy mortar shelling today. From across Poonch, the Pakistani forces used artillery and mortar guns and more than six civilian houses were damaged in the shell explosion.

In the Nowshehra sector also, the Pakistani troops resumed firing and shelling forcing over 100 families to migrate to safer places.

The Indian troops, according to Defence Ministry sources, retaliated effectively and destroyed more than 15 Pakistani bunkers across Poonch, Nowshehra. The sources said in retaliation to last evening’s heavy shelling in which over six civilians were killed and 20 others wounded, the Indian troops guarding the border in Poonch caused extensive damage to the enemy camps.

An Indian refugee carries her belonging
An Indian refugee carries her belonging and her child as she arrives at a relief camp, some 30 km from Jammu, on Thursday. — Reuters photos

As a result of strong retaliation by the Indian troops at least 12 Pakistani soldiers were said to have been killed and more than 10 wounded. The Pakistani troops evacuated civilians from over 25 villages across the Poonch, Rajouri and Nowshehra sectors though unlike the enemy forces the Indian gunners did not target the civilians.

The Pakistani troops carried out small arms fire on the Indian posts and villages in the R.S. Pora, Samba and Akhnoor sectors but neither there was any casualty nor any damage on this side.

State government functionaries said intermittent but heavy firing and shelling had caused scare among the border residents so migration was continuing. So far about 30,000 civilians have migrated to safer places from Poonch, Rajouri, Akhnoor, R.S. Pora, Samba sectors during the past 16 days.

Defence Ministry sources said there was tension on the border and “we are fighting many battles without the declaration of war.” The sources said the Pakistani side was trying to mount pressure on India so that Delhi did not launch the attack on Pakistan.

Srinagar: Various areas along the LoC in north Kashmir have been witness to unprovoked firing and shelling by Pakistan troops from across the border without causing any damage during the past 24 hours.

Talking to a group of mediapersons here on Thursday, Lieut-Gen V.G. Patankar, Commander of the Srinagar based 15 Corps of the Army said the troops have effectively retaliated to the firing by the Pakistan troops. There were reports of small arms firing and artillery shelling in Machhil sector of Kupwara district and Uri and Dawar areas of Baramula district in north Kashmir.

The General said the enemy across the border indulged in shelling and small arms firing to facilitate the infiltration of armed and trained militants into the valley adding that the firing and shelling had increased recently. He said nearly 1000 trained militants were ready to infiltrate from across the border, adding that over 4000 others were getting training in various camps across there.

The Corps Commander said the situation along the border continued to be tense and that the troops were ready to face any situation. He held that the infiltration was mainly because of the rugged mountainous terrain along the LoC in the region.

He said the troops were trying their best to stop the infiltration from across the border, while small groups succeeded in sneaking into the valley. Efforts were also being made to prevent this type of infiltration as well, he added.

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