Pak’s mortars hit Cross-LoC trade centre, biz suspended

TNN Bureau. Updated: 3/14/2019 11:43:25 AM Front Page

JAMMU: In what was a narrow escape for several hundred of people including government civil servants, police and immigration officials, besides labourers and cross LoC, at least five mortar shells hit the cross-LoC trade facilitation centre at Chakan-da-Bagh, as Pakistani troops violated the truce along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district.

While there was no casualties in the Pak’s unprovoked shelling, a few sheds located within the premises of the centre, including the one housing the X-ray scanner, suffered damages, while panic gripped the people present there, as they were asked to vacate the trade centre.

“The employees of the centre and all other who were present there were shifted to the underground bunker built at the trade centre,” SSP Poonch Ramesh Angral said.

Pakistan also opened another front at the LoC, targeting civilian areas in nearby Khari Karmara area of Poonch as well, drawing strong retaliation from the Indian army.

Officials said the shelling started in Krishna Ghati sector around 10.30 am and later spread to Poonch sector.

The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively, defence sources said, adding that the shelling was continuing when last reports were received.

“Five mortar shells hit the trade facilitation centre at Chakan-da-Bagh, damaging a few sheds, including the one housing the X-ray scanner,” custodian of LoC trade centre, Poonch, Fareed Kohli informed.

He said the shelling took place around 12.30 pm, when the process of scanning of the trucks was almost complete.

There were no casualties but the shelling caused panic among those present at the centre, he said, adding that the main building remained safe.

Kohli said the cross-LoC trade was suspended for the day in view of the shelling.

As per reports, before the shelling, a total of 34 trucks from Indian side had gone to Pakistan occupied Kashmir. In return, the Indian side had received 31 trucks from PoK.

The cross-LoC trade between Poonch on this side and Rawalakot in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which started in October 2008, takes place from Tuesday to Friday every week on barter system.

The latest ceasefire violation comes after a two-day lull in the cross-border skirmishes which had witnessed a spurt after India's pre-emptive air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot on February 26.

The strike followed the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack.

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