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Monday 27 January 2020

Nearly 100 villages deserted as thousands flee Pakistan shelling

Located five km from the International Border (IB), Arnia town, with a population of over 18,500, resembles a ghost town with only a few people and some policemen left each in its adjoining hamlets to take care of animals and guard houses against thefts

Jammu: The life in the border belt along the International Border (IB) has come to a standstill as farming, schooling, cattle rearing and everything else on which border dwellers survive have come to a halt due to shelling episodes.

The bustling Arnia border town and nearly 100 border hamlets along the Indo-Pak border now wear an empty look, with over 76,000 villagers abandoning their homes to escape heavy shelling by Pakistani troops.

Located five km from the International Border (IB), Arnia town, with a population of over 18,500, resembles a ghost town with only a few people and some policemen left each in its adjoining hamlets to take care of animals and guard houses against thefts.

“Arnia town is empty as most of its population has migrated. They have shifted either to their relatives or to shelter camps set up by the government”, Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Jammu, Arun Manhas, said.

Mahnas, who is leading rescue and relief operation along with civilian and police officials, said people in over 90 villages in Arnia and RS Pura sectors have either been evacuated by the police force in bullet proof vehicles or have migrated themselves.

Over 76,000 people have migrated from border areas in wake of heavy shelling and firing from last several days, Manhas said adding several camps have been setup to house border migrants.

The people, who have migrated to camps in RS Pura and Arnia are at the forefront of Pakistani shelling, say they have never seen such intense shelling and firing since 1971 and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to go for war with Pakistan to sort out the issue once for all.

In the hamlets, the devastation is visible all around — blood stains on the floor, broken windows, injured animals and splinter marks on the walls.

Dressed in battle fatigues and bulletproof jackets, jawans of the Border Security Forces criss-cross borderline hamlets and paddy fields to take the position to give a befitting retaliation.

Police personnel are also making rounds of villages asking residents to shift to safer places..

While most of the border dwellers are living with their relatives, over 3000 are camped in boarding and lodging places set up by the government in schools. Over 2000 cattle have been shifted from various border hamlets to safer places.

In Samba and Ramgarh sectors of Samba district, over 4000 people have migrated besides over 2000 from Hiranagar sector of Kathua district.

Over 200 educational institutes have been closed for the next three days along the IB in Jammu, Samba, and Kathua districts by authorities in the wake of tension along the Indo-Pak border due to shelling.

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