Two minors, a-10-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, were killed and five members of two families, including a 5-year-old girl, were among nine civilians injured as Pakistani troops on Monday resorted to mortar shelling, besides small and automatic weapons fire at various places along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. The
Sources said a boy was killed and five others got injured after Pakistani mortar shells pounded residential areas at Qasba and Bagialdara villages in Kerni sector. Identifying the deceased as Israr Ahmed of Qasba, they said the injured included Reshma Bi, 55, and her son Mohammad Rafiq, 31, both residents of Qasba, besides Yasir Hussain, 13, Mohammad Sadiq, 13 and Mohammd Sadiq, 54, all residents of Bagialdara. The victims were rushed to government district hospital at Poonch.
The firing from the other side began last evening and stopped by 9.30 pm after retaliation by the Indian troops.
However, Pakistani troops resumed mortar shelling in Digwar area around 10.25 am on Monday, killing 15-year-old Jasmin Akhtar. Her mother and two sisters were among four people injured. They included Zobia Gohar, 5, Tazam Akhter, 18, and their mother Sehima Bi, all residents of Digwar Terwain village. Another person, Mohammad Sajad, 30, was injured at Banpat.
Sources said apart from firing at forward Indian positions along the LoC, the Pakistani troops were also targeting civilian areas in Degwar, Shahpur, Kerni and Qasba. The casualties occurred as some of the shells fell in Kerni village.
On September 27, Pakistani troops had resorted to mortar shelling on civilian areas in Balakote and Manjakote sectors of Poonch and Rajouri districts, respectively, injuring two civilians including a 50-year-old woman.
The Indian troops were retaliating. Sources said people were staying indoors in view of mortar shelling from across the LoC.
Sources called the frequent incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan as desperate attempts to push in armed terrorists into the state before the onset of winter when mountainous passes get closed due to snowfall. The BSF troops in Arnia sector had last Saturday detected an incomplete cross-border tunnel from the Pakistan side of the international border.
“During the past two months, there have been nearly 50 infiltration attempts from across the border and 44 of them were successfully foiled by alert troops”, said Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh. “A few terrorists who somehow managed to enter the state have been eliminated”, he added.
There have been continued incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistan on both the LoC and the international border during the past over two months. A BSF constable and a woman have been killed and over a dozen civilians injured in mortar shelling by Pakistani Rangers last month. The shelling has also caused damage to residential houses at many places, making a sizeable number of people shift to safer places, while cross LoC trade and travel between two sides through Chakkan Da Bagh on Poonch-Rawalakote road remains suspended.
In retaliatory fire by Indian troops and BSF, Pakistan, too, has reportedly suffered heavy losses.