Srinagar: Seven civilians were killed when Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire along the Line of Control in Poonch on Saturday.
Two civilians including a woman were killed in firing from the side of the Pakistani army in Poonch, PTI quoted a JK police officer as saying. Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper quoted an official as saying that four women were among five civilians killed in heavy shelling from Indian troops from across the LoC in Poonch.
An Indian defence ministry spokesperson said that the Pakistan Army violated the ceasefire and initiated indiscriminate firing from small arms, automatic weapons and mortars from 6.30am on Indian Army posts along the LoC. Indian troops returned the fire strongly and effectively, he said.
Sepoy Mohmmad Shaukat of the Territorial Army, who was at home on leave, and his wife Safia Bi were killed when a mortar shell fired by the Pakistan Army exploded near their home in Karmara, a JK police officer said.
The couple’s three daughters, Zaida Kouser (6), Robina Kouser (12) and Nazia Bi, and another person were injured.
Pakistani troops rained mortar bomb shells and resorted to heavy firing, targeting civilian villages, the officer said.
“Very heavy shelling is going on in areas like Khadi, Karmara and Guplur,” he said.
The Pakistan Army was firing and shelling heavily from eight different posts on villages and forward posts along the LoC, the officer said.
Pakistan daily Dawn reported that “There has been heavy firing and shelling by Indian troops in different parts of Abbaspur and Hajira sectors since 5:30am, said Raja Tahir Mumtaz, the deputy commissioner of district Poonch.”
The deputy commissioner identified the slain as Mohammad Sharif, a 75-year-old resident of Bhaira village, a 70-year-old woman Sassi Begum, and another woman named Kulsooma.
“These are the initial reports, but given the magnitude of shelling, I am afraid the casualties may rise,” the deputy commissioner said.
The newspaper report said a 22-year-old girl, Aniba Jamshed, was critically injured and later succumbed in Indian firing in Lanjot village of Nakyal sector at about 6:30am in Kotli.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner, Tariq Ahmed Zargar along with SSP , Rajiv Kumar Panday, SDM Mendhar and other officers from police and civil administration visited village Chunghan (Mendhar ) to express solidarity with the family of the army soldier and his wife killed in cross border firing.
The DC expressed sympathies with the bereaved family and assured assistance from district administration to four minor daughters of deceased.
He also announced on spot assistance of rupees ten thousand in favour of the NOKs of victims from Red Cross.
The DC also instructed revenue authorities to process the case for further relief in favour of deceased.