SIALKOT - As many as 12 civilians were martyred and around three dozen seriously injured in the massive unprovoked Indian shelling on Sialkot border villages during the Eid Days.
Three women were killed Tuesday night by the Indian Border Security Force’s heaving firing, officials said Wednesday, taking the civilian toll to 12. The latest casualties came overnight after nine people died Monday in what was the troubled region’s highest civilian toll in a single day in over a decade.
Chenab Rangers responded to the Indian aggression and India claimed that three of its citizens too had died in the firing by the Pakistani border force personnel. Thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled their homes to escape what residents said was some of the worst shelling in years.
Clashes occur regularly along their disputed border known as the Line of Control (LoC) as well as along the Sialkot Working Boundary, the internationally recognised frontier dividing Indian occupied Kashmir from Pakistan’s Punjab province. The latest eruption of shelling this week has fanned tensions between the nuclear-armed nations which have fought three wars, two over Kashmir.
The Pakistanis who died in the Indian aggression included three members of a family and two women. There were also a number of children and women who sustained serious injuries in the BSF shelling on Sialkot border villages in Bajra Garhi, Charwah, Meraajkey, Harpal, Sucheetgarh, Chaprar and Bajwat sectors of Sialkot Working Boundary.
These border villages had also come under intense BSF fire in August for many days and later they faced floods when India released more water in already swollen rivers Chenab and Tavi. Now, these villages have been vacated by most of the locals who have fled along with their cattle due to the prolonged Indian shelling there.
The recent shelling started early morning on Monday, the first day of Eid, and it has been more intense in Sialkot border villages of Dhamaala-Charwah, Tulsipur, Rangor, Gandiyaa, Sapwaal, Baghiyaari, Joiyaan, Bajra Garhi, Harpal, Anula, Khokhar, Salaankey, Beeni Sulehriyaan, Sukmaal, Daalowali, Thathi, Thathi Khurd and Meendarwal.
Four people – Muhamamd Saleem (45), Saleema Bibi (65) and her two minor grandsons Adeel(4 years old) and Hamaad (6) – were killed when Indian mortar shells hit their houses in village Tulsipur-Charwah. In village Charwah-Sialkot, local farmer Abdul Razzaq (55), son of Lal Din, was also among those killed on Monday.
Two villagers Ghulam Shabir and Muhammad Asif were killed on Tuesday (2nd day of Eid) while they were sitting in their homes. In border village Sukmaal-Shakargarh, a seven-month pregnant Tahira Rani (33), wife of Muhammad Asif, was killed. In village Chak Sokhaa- Harpal, Shamas Din (45) was killed while trying to flee the shells.
The injured included Ejaz Anwar, Muhammad Younas, Natha Khan, Abdul Razzaq , Samia, wife of Abdul Majeed, and her daughter Fiza (6),  Beela, wife of Mustansar Ali, Irfan Shah Patoli, Kabeer (2), Mushtaq, Aqeel, Emaan Nazir (5), Muhamamd Ishaq , Shukar Din, Irfan, Muhammad Iqbal, Ghulam Hussain, Arsalan , Madeeha, Khadija Bibi, Sakeena Bibi, Rukhana Sajid, Bashir Hussain , Nasir Mehmood , Allah Rakha and Bashir Hussain.
Dozens of injured were taken to Combine Military Hospital (CMH) Sialkot by Rescue 1122 Sialkot, where the condition of more than 13 was stated to be critical. Scores of cattle were also killed and injured in the Indian firing while most of the houses had been damaged in the massive BSF shelling.
Pakistan has expressed grave concern over this unprovoked shelling on Sialkot border villages and lodged a strong protest with the Indian authorities, senior officials of Chenab Rangers said. Punjab Rangers Director General Maj-Gen Tahir Javaid Khan on Wednesday visited the affected border villages and received briefing on the situation from the local officials of the Chenab Rangers.
Chenab Rangers Sialkot Sector Commander Brig Waseem said the Chenab Rangers have responded to the Indian aggression in a befitting manner. Talking to the newsmen at the Chenab Rangers (Headquarters) Sialkot on Wednesday, Brig Waseem said the Indian BSF was targeting the civilian population in Sialkot border villages, violating the ceasefire agreement.
Brig Waseem said while the BSF was targeting Pakistani civilians the Pakistani border force was retaliating only by targeting their military targets. “Chenab Rangers are (professionally) more committed than the Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) as they were not targeting the Indian civilian population”, he said. He added that the Indian border troops have been targeting civilian population in Sialkot border villages on eve of every religious festival in Pakistan, particularly for the last two years.
But Indian authorities too claimed killing of their five civilians in Pakistani firing. Two women were killed overnight Tuesday in Chilyari village on the Indian side of the international border and 18 other civilians were injured, some of them critically, director general of police K Rajendra told AFP. They were among the few who had not fled the village, which lies just three kilometres (two miles) from the border with Pakistan. “I have seen wars and lived through many border skirmishes, but I never before saw such intense firing,” said 80-year-old Chilyari resident Kartar Chand.
NO TALKS WITH PAKISTAN: MODI
On Wednesday, India gave a free hand to its security forces along the LoC to deal with Pakistan as they saw fit.
“The PM (Modi) has told the NSA (National Security Advisor) that there is no question of succumbing to Pakistan. The PM said that there will be no talks with the Pakistan border forces till firing stops,” the Indian media reported, quoting sources in the government
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh, meanwhile, has directed the Border Security Force (BSF) to continue retaliating to Pak firing.