NEW DELHI, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - More than 30,000 residents have fled villages in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state during an intense cross-border fire exchange between Indian and Pakistani troops, The Hindu newspaper reported Thursday.
"More than 20,000 people left border villages near Jammu," an official at the Jammu municipality was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
About 7,000 people fled the border district of Kathua and 3,000 fled Samba, and tents have been put up for them in safe areas, according to the official.
Local media reported that last night, Pakistani frontier guards opened fire along the whole border line under their control, firing at 60 Indian border troop posts and 90 neighboring villages. The Indian side returned fire. The incident that left at least eight Indians injured and two Pakistani civilians dead came hours after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi commenting on the situation at the border said, "Everything will be fine soon."
Following the end of the British rule and the establishment of independence in both India and Pakistan, the two neighboring countries have engaged in a number of armed conflicts over the disputed Kashmir region.
Currently, there are no official borders in the Kashmir region while the armies of the two conflicting countries determine the lines of control. Tension between the two countries has been fueled by frequent exchanges of fire at the border, with both India and Pakistan accusing each other of violating the ceasefire agreement signed in 2003.