SIALKOT - A man was injured seriously and more than 65 houses were destroyed or badly damaged in the stepped up unprovoked shelling by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on Sialkot villages in Charwah, Merajkey, Sucheetgarh, Harpal, Chaprar and Bajwat sectors along the Working Boundary here on Sunday.

Dozens of animals were also killed in the shelling.

According to senior officials of the Chenab Rangers, the Indian BSF shelled the Sialkot border villages Bajrah Garhi, Charwah, Jarwal, Kaseera, Anula, Nandipur, Rangpur Jattan, Sucheetgarh, Beeni, Merajkey, Khadraal, Meendarwal, Thathi Khurd, Thathi Kalan, Chaprar and other surrounding areas for about nine hours. The firing started at about 09:15 pm on Saturday night and continued till 07:00 am intermittently on Sunday morning.

Muhammad Sharif, 49, from Jarwal village was injured seriously in the shelling. He was sleeping at his home when some mortar shells fired by Indian BSF hit his house damaging it badly and injuring him seriously. He was shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Sialkot in critical condition.

Local farmer Malik Akbar’s five goats were killed with mortar shells fired by Indian BSF in village Bajrah Garhi-Anula on Sunday.

Indian shells also hit the electrical wires in Bajrah Garhi village due to which the supply of electricity remained suspended for several hours.

A local farmer Manzur Elahi’s 10 buffaloes (worth Rs 3 million) were killed as the mortar shells fired from across the border hit his cattle-shed in village Meendarwal killing the animals on the spot.

Two donkeys were also reportedly killed in Indian shelling on Khadraal village.

The senior officials of the Chenab Rangers said that Indian forces again targeted the civil population with heavy shelling and added that light machine guns (LMGs) and heavy machine guns (HMGs) were used in firing on Sialkot villages.

The Chenab Rangers retaliated instantly and effectively and silenced the Indian guns in a befitting manner, the senior officials added.

People in villages Bajrah Garhi, Anula, Bajrah Garhi, Khadraal and Beeni told this scribe that were sleepless for the last three days due to the Indian shelling. They said majority of the people had migrated to safer places with family members and cattle as well.

Mohsin, a local, said the Indian BSF was targeting the civilian population by firing mortar shells on their villages.

A cobbler Muhamamd Lateef said he and his family were present at the courtyard of their house in village Bajrah Garhi when mortar shells fired by the Indian BSF hit their houses before the Fajr Prayers badly damaging his house.

Meanwhile, MNA Ch Armughan Subhani, MPAs Ch Tariq Akhtar Subhani, Rana Arif Iqbal Harnah and Sufi Muhamamd Ishaq Sunday visited the Indian shelling-hit Sialkot border villages Meendarwal, Thathi Khurd and Thathi Kalan. They expressed complete solidarity with the local people. They assured the people that they would be given compensation of the damage caused to their properties by Indian shelling.

MNA Ch Armughan Subhani said more than two dozen cattle of local villagers were killed and 65 houses were destroyed or badly damaged in the firing from across the boder.

He said the Indian forces again targeted the civilian population when they were asleep. He said the morale of the local people hit by Indian shelling was very high.

Two Indian soldiers among

6 killed in IHK clash

AFP adds: India’s army clashed with suspected militants in Indian-held Kashmir near the disputed border with Pakistan, leaving two soldiers and four rebels dead, an Indian military official said Sunday.

Indian soldiers encountered the militants, who are believed to have crossed the de facto border into Indian-occupied Kashmir’s Keran sector, some 150 kilometres northwest of the main city of Srinagar on Saturday night, the official said.

“In the resultant exchange of fire between army and terrorists, one soldier was injured who succumbed later (to his injuries),” defence spokesman Colonel NN Joshi said.

Another soldier and four suspected militants were killed early on Sunday in a separate counter-insurgency operation in a nearby forested area of Kalaroos, Joshi said.

“Fighting is over in the area and identification of the four killed (militants) was not ascertained yet,” Joshi told AFP, confirming the soldiers died in the firing.

The violence comes after India last week called off high-level talks with Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Islamabad, angry that Pakistani officials had met with Kashmiri leaders in New Delhi.

Pakistan described the cancellation of the talks between the foreign secretaries as a “setback” for closer relations with India’s new right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Saturday, Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the border further south in the region of Jammu, resulting in five deaths and forcing villagers to flee their homes.

Two civilians were killed on the Indian side of the international border when Pakistani forces opened fire, according to Indian officials. On the other side, three Pakistani civilians were killed by Indian fire, Pakistan’s military said.

Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said Sunday there had been a series of recent “provocations” by Pakistan’s army and India’s military was “responding adequately”.

Jaitley told reporters that security forces were “fully protecting both our territory and people”.