Two Army jawans died of charcoal smoke in their bunker in Nowgam sector near the Line of Control on Friday. They had lit the fire because of the heavy snowfall that has lashed Kashmir in the past couple of days. Army helicopters were pressed into service on Saturday afternoon to airlift some stranded soldiers and assess the damage to the fence and forward posts at a number of places in north Kashmir, sources said.

Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla Khwaja Ghuam Ahmed told The Sunday Guardian that the state administration was ready to airlift even civilians with the help of Army helicopters.

The soldiers had occupied these forward posts after the recent border clashes with Pakistan. Heavy snowfall has damaged the fence and border posts, police sources said. “It is not just snowfall, there are possibilities of avalanches in these areas that have witnessed more than 10 feet of snow,” Ahmed said.

Earlier, Army copters failed to land in areas covered with snow. The district administration of Kupwara and Baramulla have advised the locals not to venture out because of the avalanche warning.

The deputy commissioner of the north western district of Bandipora, Manzoor Ahmed Lone said that there was a danger of avalanches in Gurez sector of Bandipora. “We are ready to face all challenges,” Lone said.

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