JAMMU: The intermittent exchange of fire between Pakistani Rangers and BSF personnel along the International Border in Arnia and RS Pura sectors of Jammu district ended early Friday, officials said.
Scores of families that had fled the border hamlets overnight after the unprovoked firing by Pakistani Rangers have now started returning to their homes.
A Border Security Force (BSF) jawan and a civilian were injured in the cross-border firing targeting five Indian posts along the International Border (IB) on Thursday night. The BSF had effectively retaliated to the firing.
“The firing has stopped (from across the border). There is calm now,” a senior BSF officer told PTI.
He said the intermittent exchange of fire between the two sides continued till 3 am.
The official said two BSF personnel and a woman were injured on Thursday night and have been hospitalised. One jawan has been shifted to the GMC Hospital in Jammu.
They have been identified as Basavraj SR, who hails from Karnataka, and Sher Singh. The woman has been identified as Rajni Bala of Arnia.
Pakistan Rangers had fired 82 and 120 mm mortar shells and used heavy machine guns, triggering fear among the border dwellers.
Several people in Arnia, Treva, Suchetgarh, and Jabowal, particularly migrant laborers, had left the border hamlets on Thursday night when the unprovoked firing started.
Several families had taken shelter in bunkers, temples, and other safe areas in the border area.
People of border villages said they witnessed such intense firing and shelling after many years. “We were eating food when the firing began. We left the food and ran along with our families,” Joginder Kumar, a laborer from Bihar, said.
Kumar, who along with 51 others, including women and children, had taken shelter in a temple in Arnia after leaving a forward village due to shelling, said they were terrified.
“We had heard about it (firing). Now we have seen it,” he said.
In a forward hamlet where a mortar shell hit a house, Ekta Devi said, “By God’s grace, we were saved. There was a lot of firing till this morning. All glass windows broke.”
Another villager Rakesh Kumar, who along with several villagers had taken shelter in a bunker in a forward village, said they are now returning to their village.
“There was intense firing and shelling after many years. There was peace for the past two years. Pakistan cannot be trusted,” he said.
Many videos went viral on social media which showed people fleeing their dwellings when the firing started.
In Arnia, many guests fled from a wedding ceremony when the firing started.
“We continued with the marriage. Most of the people left after the firing started,” Kuldeep, a relative of the bridegroom said.
This is the second ceasefire violation in October. On October 19, two BSF jawans were injured in firing by Pakistan Rangers at the Vikram post along the IB in Arnia sector.
India and Pakistan had signed a ceasefire agreement on February 25, 2021, in which both nations agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors