A day after resorting to unprovoked firing in Sawjian and KG sectors, Pakistani troops on Monday morning started pounding civilian areas with mortar shells in Balakote and Mankote areas of Mendhar sub division in Poonch district. With Indian troops retaliating, a fierce fight was going on between the two sides causing panic among local residents. “Ceasefire violations by Pak in Poonch and Mendhar being countered by massive fire assaults,’’ tweeted the Northern Command.
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Pointing out that the ceasefire violation in Mendhar sector came around 9.15 am, a defence ministry spokesperson Lt Colonel Manish Mehta here said that “Pakistani troops were using 120 mm and 82 mm mortars, besides automatics and small arms. Own troops were giving befitting reply and there had been no casualty or damage’’ on the Indian side so far.
The mortar shelling from Pakistan side came in Balakote area after a lull of four days, said lamberdar of Balakote Mohammad Riaz Khan. The people have taken refuge inside their houses as shells were falling in close vicinity to residential areas all over Balakote sector including Dharana, Basooni, Sandote, Behrote, Golad and Dharati, he added.
Only yesterday, two Indian soldiers were killed and five others including two women injured as Pakistani troops resorted to heavy shelling on at least six locations of Poonch amid two infiltration bids from across the Line of Control that were foiled. Responding to the cease fire violations, the Army said that it inflicted heavy casualties on the Pakistan side. “Four Pak posts (were) destroyed in a massive fire assault in Keran sector of Kashmir Valley,’’ it added.