JAMMU: It was apparently a night of horror in Arnia village of RS Pura sector in Jammu district, situated five km from the International Border, when Pakistani troops resorted to high calibre mortar shelling on the civilian areas, leaving five dead and 34 injured.
"It was a night of horror. We won’t be able to forget what happened with us last night. We all were fast asleep, when we woke up with a deafening thud and saw blood oozing out of our bodies," said 42-year-old Sudesh Kumari who was undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMC&H) in Jammu.
For 70-year-old Bira Devi who in the past has witnessed several conflicts between India and Pakistan, including the 1971 and the 1965 war, says that attacking the innocent civilians was a norm for the Pakistani side.
"We have always been the sitting ducks on fire. The Pakistani side always attack the civilians in the area and we become the worst sufferers," she said.
The villagers who were injured in the last night's heavy shelling in Arnia say that they become the victim every time the hostilities between the two countries increase.
"We had to go to safer places several times in the past as well, but this time the firing was unprovoked and we were not given an opportunity to save ourselves," said Joginder Singh, another injured civilian.
Chief Medical officer of GMC&H Dr Ritesh Shan said that, "At around 3 in the morning, 32 injured civilians were shifted to our hospital, three of them were declared brought dead, 29 were injured some of them critically. Two of the critically injured were operated."
He said that majority of the injured had received splinter injuries to different parts of their bodies.
Meanwhile, Army has said that the action of the Pakistani troops of attacking the civilian population on the Indian side was highly condemnable and shameful.
"Indian security forces never target civilian areas, it is shameful on their part to target the civilian areas," Defence spokesman Col SD Goswami said.
He said that the Indian side has effectively responded to all the provocations from the Pakistani side.
"We have always adequately responded at the time and place with weapons and fire of our own choosing. Our strategy on the LoC domination has been punitive and effective," he said.
He said that until the terror infrastructure across the border was intact, there was an extreme threat of such type of incidents in the future as well.
Defence sources informed that Pakistani troops restored to the high calibre firing that included 82mm mortars that have much higher range.
"Earlier they used to fire 51 mm mortars, but last night they used 82 mm shells which have a higher range. This shows that that the intention was to target the civilian population," a senior Army officer said.