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Indian troops shell Chakothi bazaar

June 01, 2003

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CHAKOTHI, May 31: Shops on both sides of nearly 800 metre long strip of the road in this border town were shut on Saturday with shopkeepers and residents fearing resumption of artillery duels following the heavy overnight shelling by Indian troops from across the Line of Control.

Located some 60 kilometres south of Muzaffarabad, the town is overlooked by the Indian posts on the hills across the restive Line of Control, some of which could be seen with a naked eye.

Residents and official sources told Dawn on Saturday that three houses were partially damaged in Chakothi sector in overnight Indian shelling, which began at 9 pm without any provocation and continued past midnight.

Though the shelling was severe and according to residents Indian troops had shelled no less than 200 rounds, there were no casualties.

The villagers were alerted the moment they saw the illuminators and they took refuge in bunkers, which averted casualties, he said.

Residents said authorities had closed the educational institutions in Chakothi sector for Saturday for fear of their becoming a soft target of the enemy.

The boys’ high school of the town, located in the middle of the bazaar, has been damaged.