Border Villagers in J&K, Punjab Asked to Shift to Safer Places

It is uncertain when the ceremony will recommence

Anticipating a counter attack for its surgical strike, the border security force (BSF) was on Thursday put on high alert even as the authorities began evacuating villages in a 10 kilometre belt from the worldwide border in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

As soon as the news of "surgical strikes" by Indian Army spread, the Union government asked Punjab government to get the border villages evacuated.

According to the newspaper, the authorities used loudspeakers to inform the citizens about the evacuation.

India carried out "surgical strikes" on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir last night, inflicting "significant casualties" on terrorists and those who are trying to support them.

The newspaper also said, citing informed sources, that the Border Security Force (BSF) started enhancing the border security and mobilizing the troops.

Residents of Dawar closed their shops and other business establishments and schools were also shut amid panic over simmering tension between India and Pakistan over the reported strike.

Over four lakh (400,000) villagers in six border districts have been affected due to the evacuation.

He also directed the Deputy Commissioners to identify suitable locations for setting up camps and ensure that none of the residents being evacuated were put to any sort of inconvenience or hardship. All leave of Punjab Police and medical personnel in the border areas has been cancelled.

Over 400,000 people in Punjab's border belt, comprising Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Fazilka districts, have been evacuated from their homes to "safer areas".

Ajmer Dargah Deewan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Army for the action.

BSF has cancelled the beating retreat ceremony at Wagah border for today. Officials said border units were ordered to undertake special patrols and conduct ambushes. The state government also issued a warning to fishermen to avoid the high seas and going close to the worldwide maritime border with Pakistan. "This is a lesson to the terrorist and enemies of the country", Khan said.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has said that high alert has been sounded in entire state, especially in the border districts. It is not war time yet but tens of thousands of villagers in Punjab's border belt with Pakistan are already experiencing a war-like situation. Fishermen have been asked to stay away from worldwide maritime boundary line in Gujarat and aggressive patrolling has been ordered in 22 marine police stations.

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