Hours after a woman was killed in Pakistani shelling on Indian civilian areas along the Line of Control in Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, New Delhi summoned Islamabad’s envoy to lodge a strong protest.
Anil Wadhwa, Secretary, East in the External Affairs Ministry, conveyed to High Commissioner Abdul Basit India’s strong “protest” and “anger” against the “unprovoked firing” by Pakistani troops along the LoC.
Basit, however, remained defiant after the 15-minute meeting, accusing India of 70 ceasefire violations along the LoC and International Boundary in July and August, and called for a more effective mechanism to determine which side had fired without provocation, PTI reported.
“We are concerned about ceasefire violations. In the months of July and August, there have been close to 70 ceasefire violations from this side of the LoC and the working boundary. We are obviously very concerned about it.
“Our side would like to have a more effective mechanism in place so as to determine who indulges in this unprovoked firing,” Basit told reporters after emerging from South Block.
Nusrat Begum was killed in Behrote on Sunday morning as heavy shelling began in the wee hours in the Balakote sector. One Mushtaq Ahmed was injured at Sawjian, sources said.
Later on Sunday, three villagers, including a 6-year-old child, were injured after a shell fell in Rajdhani village in Manjakote area of Rajouri district. The injured have been identified as Parveen Akhtar (40), her son Yasir Iqbal (17), and their neighbour Rozia Kousar (6).
This is the first time since the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries that Pakistani mortar shells have landed in the Manjakote area. Since Saturday, nearly a dozen shells have landed in the area, Sub Divisional Police Officer, Manjakote, Yakir Shaheen, said. Pakistan appears to be using long range weapons to hit civilian areas on the Indian side, the officer said.
With Nusrat’s death, the toll in the Pakistani shelling since Saturday as risen to six. Five people, including a 10-year-old boy, Moin Khan, and the sarpanch of Basoni village, Masarat Khan, were killed at Basoni in Balakote sector on Independence Day. Eight people have been injured in Poonch and Rajouri districts since yesterday. The shells were falling deep inside Indian territory.