Seven civilians killed in LoC firing

Seven civilians were killed and at least half a dozen others suffered injuries in the cross LoC firing between Indian and Pakistani troops today.

Two civilians were killed and a few others injured on Saturday when Pakistani army ‘violated the ceasefire’ and resorted to mortar shelling and firing at forward posts and villages along the LoC in Poonch. 

On the other side of LoC, Pakistan claimed that at least three civilians were killed and several others injured in the firing by Indian troops. 

“Pakistan army began indiscriminate firing and shelling on our positions on the LoC in Gulpur area,” defence sources said.  “After the firing our forces effectively retaliated,” they added.

A Defense official said that Pakistani troops resorted to heavy mortar bomb shelling and firing, targeting civilian areas as well, a police officer said. “Very heavy shelling went on and two civilians died in Pakistani shelling in Khadi Karmara village along the LoC,” he said, adding that various other people suffered injuries.

There have been 23 incidents of ceasefire violation, an attack by Pakistan Special Forces team and two infiltration bids in June, in which four people including three jawans were killed and 12 others were injured. 

On 29 June, two Indian Army jawans were injured when Pakistani troops fired from small arms and pounded mortars on forward posts and civilian areas along the LoC in Poonch district.

On Eid-ul Fitr on 26 June, the Pakistani army fired small arms and automatic weapons and shelled mortars along the LoC in the Bhimbher Gali sector of Rajouri.  Earlier on 22 June,  a Pakistani special forces team sneaked across the LoC into Poonch under cover of heavy fire and killed two jawans — 34-year-old Naik Jadhav Sandip of Aurangabad and 24-year-old Sepoy Mane Savan Balku of Kolhapur.

One Pakistani soldier was also killed. Pakistan’s Border Action Team comprises its army’s special forces personnel and militants.

On the other side of Line of Control (LoC), officials said at least three civilians were killed and six others injured in the firing. An official of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said five people including a girl were killed due to “unprovoked firing” by Indian forces in Chirikot and Satwal sectors.

The official added that three others were injured in the firing.

“Pakistan Army troops effectively responded to Indian unprovoked firing,” said the ISPR statement.

“There has been heavy firing and shelling by Indian troops in different parts of Abbaspur and Hajira sectors since 5:30amin the morning,” said Raja Tahir Mumtaz, the deputy commissioner of district Poonch where these two sectors fall. 

He said Mohammad Sharif, a 75-year-old resident of Bhaira village near Tetrinote crossing point in Hajira sector  lost his life after a mortar shell landed on his mud-house  destroying it completely. A  26-year-old married woman, Faiza Saleem, was killed and two young girls — Adiba, 22, and Mahnoor, 17 — were injured in Satwal village of Abbaspur sector. They belonged to same family, Mumtaz said.

Another woman, Kulsoom, 35, was killed and her 14-year-old son Zahid was injured in Dhakki Chafar village of Abbaspur sector, he added. “Initially, Zahid was injured and when Kulsoom rushed to rescue him, she too fell victim to the shelling and died on the spot,” the deputy commissioner said.

Two teenage boys, Rizwan Hanif, 16, and Faizan Ali, 14, were injured in Batol and Chaatra villages of the same sector, he added. “These are the initial reports, but given the magnitude of shelling, I am afraid the casualties may rise,” the deputy commissioner said.

In Kotli district, a 22-year-old girl, Aniba Jamshed, was critically injured in Indian firing in Lanjot village of Nakyal sector at about 6:30am.  “A bullet fired by the Indian troops hit her in the head, rendering her critically wounded,” a police official said, adding that she was rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital Kotli.

However,  according to the official, “there was peace elsewhere in the sector” that has suffered heavy losses in the past in cross-border shelling.

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