Rajnath slams shelling, asks Islamabad not to misinterpret our ‘decency’
The frequent ceasefire violations between India and Pakistan escalated on Tuesday when the Pakistan Army set the Line of Control (LoC) on fire by using heavy calibre weapons, including 80 mm mortars, to target the civilian areas in Nowshera sector of Rajouri, Hundreds of villagers had a sleepless night as they remained huddled together in their houses, not even daring to escape.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh slammed Pakistan for continuously violating the ceasefire agreement with India despite giving assurance not to do so, saying Islamabad should not misinterpret “powerful” India’s “decency”
Pakistani shelling along the border in Jammu & Kashmir has increased over the past two weeks. Fourteen people, including eight civilians, have been killed in the shelling since January 18, according to the State police. On Tuesday, Pakistani troops opened fire and lobbed mortars on forward and civilian areas along the LoC in Rajouri district. No casualties have been reported. “Three-four days ago, the Pakistan Rangers held a flag meeting with our BSF DG. (The Rangers) assured that the ceasefire violation would not take place. But despite this, Pakistan has been violating ceasefire,” Rajnath said.
“Not saying much, I just want to say our politeness and decency has a limit. We want to maintain good relations with all and also with om neighbors. But our decency should not be wrongly interpreted;’ he said. “India is no more a weak country. India has now become a powerful country”. Rajnath said Pakistan, being a neighbour, should have a friendly attitude towards India. He said that the fencing of the India – Pakistan border was underway at a rapid pace.
Rajnath was in Chandigarh to address members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. He was accompanied by Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher and Chandigarh BJP unit chief Sanjay Tandon. In J&K, more than dozen forward villages in Rajouri were hit by shelling of mortars.
According to local villagers, more than 300 shells landed inside the Indian territory since early on Tuesday triggering panic among the border residents. According to local reports, the Indian Army retaliated with full force. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh slammed Pakistan, asserting that it cannot be trusted upon its peace initiatives. He said security forces are giving a befitting reply to cross-border firing from the Pakistani side.
The border residents had earlier spent a sleepless night as the Pakistan Army started targeting several forward areas since late Monday. In the absence of any help, the border residents remained closeted inside their houses along with their livestock and children. The firing started around 7 am and continued till 11.30 am without any pause on Tuesday. Intermittent firing in the forward area, however, continued till late evening.
According to local villagers, no one could even step out of their houses due to in tense shelling. “We are stranded in our villages since morning due to heavy shelling in the area;’ a village schoolteacher in Ganiah area of Nowshera said.
Another villager appealed to the Rajouri Deputy Commissioner to construct a few more bunkers in their village with a population of over 600 people. “So far there are only six bunkers in our area how we can accommodate all villagers. We badly need more bunkers in order to save civilians in the wake of high intensity of firing from the Pakistan side;’ the villagers demanded.
The children too are suffering for past over two weeks as they have been stuck in homes due to closure of schools in the border areas.
In the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly, BJP MLA from Nowshera Assembly segment Ravinder Raina raised the issue of border residents and urged the State Government to send a high-level team of Government officers to assess the ground situation and evacuate border residents from the danger zone if required.
Following directions from the State Government, [Jammu Divisional Commissioner Hemant Sharma, Jammu-range IGP SD Singh Jamwal; DC Rajouri and SSP Rajouri visited the forward areas of Nowshera to take stock of the situation. The high-level team directed the local Government authorities to closely monitor the situation and make elaborate arrangements for the border residents to ensure their safety and security.
However unlike LoC areas, the situation along the International Border in RS Pura, Samba and Kathua sectors remained peaceful, Some of the villagers have returned home but residents of a few vulnerable areas continue to stay away during night to ensure their safety.
Farmers in the region too are a worried lot as they are not able to visit their fields due to fear of getting caught ill the cross firing.
By Mohit Kandhari: The Pioneer