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SIALKOT/NAROWAL: Several houses were damaged in intensified shelling by Indian troops on the border villages in the Bajwat, Chaprar and Shakargarh sectors along the Working Boundary on Saturday.

However, no loss of life or any injury was reported.

According to Punjab Rangers officials, the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) resorted to intermittent firing on the villages of Chaprar, Banoot, Rangpur Jattan, Nandpur, Suragpur, Malaaney, Tool, Maadipur and Thathi in Chaprar Sector, Phookaliyaan, Patoli and adjoining villages (the Bajwat Sector), Bara Bhai, Masrur, Chak Amru, Pindi Pomiyaan, Timber Chak, Sukmaal, Sakho Chak, Karol, Nangal, Bhopalpur, Balnoi, Jagwaal, Khuraal Kahna and others in the Shakargarh sector, during the night between Friday and Saturday, targeting civilian population.

The BSF used automatic weapons and light machineguns and also fired several mortar shells. As a result, walls of several houses were riddled with small and big bullets. Several shells landed in the fields but could not explode, the officials said.

The Pakistani side retaliated in a befitting manner, silencing Indian guns, officials said.

This is the first ceasefire violation along the Working Boundary by Indians after a 14-month lull. On Aug 28, 2015, the BSF had resorted to unprovoked intensified shelling on Kundanpur village in the Sucheetgarh sector, killing eight civilians and injuring 32 others.

Meanwhile, the Indian firing and shelling has failed to frighten and dampen the spirit of the local people who, despite suffering property losses, are determined to stay in their homes. They are ready to face the situation and have resolved to support the Pakistan Army.

Mohammad Iqbal, Allah Ditta and Mohammad Ashraf, residents of the area, said they were willing to face the situation and determined not to leave their homes. “We are not afraid of Indian aggression and will provide full support to our army in handling the situation at the border.”

They said they had full faith in Pakistani troops which paid the Indian forces back in the same coin after their indiscriminate firing and shelling on civilian population, which is an open violation of bilateral agreements and international laws.

The villagers appreciated the role of the army in defending the territory and people of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2016