Nitin Kanotra / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

Thousands flee Kashmir amid deadly border violence

Renewed clashes, which have claimed at least 10 lives, have displaced thousands in disputed region

An estimated 6,000 families fled from their homes in Kashmir late Monday as fighting between India and Pakistan spread along a 125-mile stretch of the disputed border region.

"The firing is going on and we are giving befitting reply to Pakistani shelling," an Indian border official, who requested anonymity, told The Associated Press.

Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment.

Tension between the nuclear-armed rivals has risen since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called off peace talks in August. And clashes have erupted intermittently since October. In the past week alone, at least 10 soldiers and civilians have been killed.

Many residents said they fled their homes Monday as mortar fire began landing in border villages.

"We were very frightened as bullets and shells were raining from all sides," said Kamal Singh, a construction worker. "We somehow managed to flee to a safer place."

Singh said he and his family fled from Baniglad village and have been staying at a government-run relief shelter for four days.

"We had a narrow escape and there is a war-like situation," Sham Kumar, 54, from Sherpur village told Reuters. "Pakistani troops are using long-range weapons. It is the first time we have seen such intense shelling."

The violence comes days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to visit India. President Barack Obama is also due to visit India later this month.

The U.S. has for years been trying to push the South Asian countries to build better relations. The rivals, who have fought two wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir, blame each other for the upsurge in clashes since October.

Wire services

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