India evacuates thousands living in border villages

Chak Baksh—A day after claiming to have carried out ‘surgical strikes’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), India evacuated over 10,000 people living near the border with Pakistan in Indian Punjab on Friday and ordered security forces to upgrade surveillance along the frontier.
Hundreds of villages were being cleared along a 15 kilometre strip in held Kashmir. Authorities in India’s northern Punjab state said they were evacuating villages within 10km of the border.
“Our top priority is to move women and children to government buildings, guest houses and marriage halls,” said Nirmal Singh, deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
“People who have not been able to migrate were instructed not to venture out of their houses early in the morning or late in the night.” India on Thursday allegedly carried out surgical strikes on “terror launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC)” in AJK, a claim which the Pakistani military swiftly rubbished, saying its two soldiers died in cross-border firing by Indian troops.
An Indian soldier was captured during the incident, and at least eight Indian soldiers were killed in a “befitting response” by Pakistani troops, security sources said. The latest incident of cross-border firing comes as tensions simmer between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir issue.

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