Samba (Jammu and Kashmir): Thousands have taken refuge in relief camps in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday after intense shelling from across the border killed at least eight civilians and injured scores

Some 18,000 Indian civilians have fled their homes in the lowlands around Jammu to escape the fighting, taking refuge in schools and relief camps.

On Wednesday, District Magistrate Mubarak Singh of Samba region, where several villagers have been evacuated near the international border, said that those living within three kilometers of the border were brought to relief camps.

“People who stay very close to the International Border, like within three kilometers, people who are likely to get affected more, whose houses have been damaged, those people have been brought to these relief camps. In this particular camp, there are people from around 15-20 villages from the danger zone,” said Singh.

Food is being prepared and people were being provided blankets to be able to spend a few days in the camps. Most of the camps are either schools or colleges or are government buildings, said Singh.

Suresh Sharma, a villager living along the border in Samba region, said the firing was sudden and in escaping the shelling they suffered injuries.

“We were inside our home when shelling started. We were not able to find a place to hide. We were four men, we started jumping over each other to save ourselves but in the process one suffered a fracture in his hand, other on his leg. That is why we have now come to this relief camp. But we are still worried about few of our people who are still living in the villages, taking care of our houses,” said Sharma.

Similar temporary relief camps were being arranged by the government in R.S. Pura sector of Kashmir.

“Here the conditions are very bad. There is continuous firing from Pakistan side. Our education is getting disturbed. People are leaving their homes. No activity is going on smoothly. A lot of people have been injured. We are leaving our homes and going to the relief camps, which are setup in schools and colleges, as a result schools are also closed,” said another resident Anamika.

Another ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops was reported along the International Border last night, which injured eight persons, including three BSF jawans.

Almost the whole stretch of the International Border including Samba, Hiranagar, Ramgarh, Arnia, RS Pura, Kanachak and Pargwal was affected by the firing.

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