Three civilians including a woman and a student were killed in Churanda village on the Line of Control in North Kashmirs Uri sector when Pakistani soldiers fired mortar shells at the village.
The shelling from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir continued for several hours and is the first major ceasefire violation since the 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.
The dead included a 15-year-old student Liquat Ali. Locals said Ali was on his way to school when he was hit by the splinters of a shell fired from across the LoC. Others killed were identified as Mohammad Shafi,32,and Shaheena,20.
Villagers said the Pakistani troops started firing mortars towards Churanda village around 10.30 am. For the past 10 days,Indian and Pakistani troops have been firing with light weapons. On Tuesday morning however,Pakistani troops began shelling Churanda with heavy weapons, said Asadullah Khan who lives in neighbouring Garkote village. Todays shelling has left villagers scared and many villagers have taken refuge in underground bunkers, he added.
Defence spokesman,Col Birjesh Pandey said,In Uri sector,Pakistani troops have been carrying out unprovoked firing since October 3. Despite provocation Indian soldiers have been exercising maximum restraint because of the ceasefire agreement between the two sides. Keeping the safety of the civilians in mind,Indian troops did not retaliate as that would have escalated the situation resulting in more casualties, he said,adding that the issue would be taken up on hotline with the Pakistani side.
Since the ceasefire,this is the first time that civilians have been killed in the cross-border shelling, said Ghulam Ahmad Bhat,a resident of Uri town.