External Affairs

Pak Firing Kills 3, Injures 5

An injured civilian being treated at a hospital in Rajouri after the ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Poonch and Balakot sectors on Saturday. Credit: PTI Photo

An injured civilian being treated at a hospital in Rajouri after the ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Poonch and Balakot sectors on Saturday. Credit: PTI Photo

Jammu: Three civilians including a sarpanch were killed in heavy firing and mortar bomb shelling by Pakistani troops at several Indian posts and civilian areas today in multiple ceasefire violations along the LoC in four sectors of Poonch district.

The firing on Indian positions in the Jammu region in which five people were also injured on the country’s Independence Day in ceasefire violations for the seventh consecutive day drew strong retaliation from Indian troops. One child was believed to be among the injured.

The offensive came even as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sent his greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, saying promoting friendly ties between the two neighbours was in mutual interest and ahead of the talks between their National Security Advisors (NSA) scheduled in New Delhi on August 23.

The fatalities occured when a shell fired during the mortar bomb attack hit a car in which the three dead were the occupants and exploded in Basoni in Mendhar tehsil in Poonch district, a senior police officer said. Further details are awaited.

The dead were identified by police as Keramat Hussain, who is sarpanch of Basoni, and Abdul Rahman and Mohd. Amin.

A large crowd which had assembled at the spot also came under Pakistani fire and at least five civilians were injured, the officer said.

There have been 32 violations of the 2003 ceasefire accord in August till yesterday and this is the seventh consecutive day that Pakistani troops have shelled Indian posts along the Line of Control(LoC) in Jammu region, an Army official said.

Defence Lt. Col. Manish Mehta, the public-relations officer, said, “Pakistani troops resorted to firing of 60 mm and 82 mm mortar shells on forward posts and civilian areas along LoC in Mandi, Hamirpur and Saujiyan sectors of Poonch from 1820 hours last evening to 0730 today”.

They also fired in Mand and Saujiyan sectors from midnight to 0300 hours and again from 0730 hours, he said.

There was also firing by Pakistani troops on Indian positions along the LoC in Balakote sector from 1130 hours and it is going on, a police officer added.

Lt. Col. Mehta said troops guarding the borderline retaliated, resulting in exchanges that’re going on.

On August 14, Pakistan troops had resorted to firing with automatic weapons and 82 mm mortar bombs on forward posts and civilian areas in Shahpur Kerni belt of Poonch district. Pakistani troops had also fired on forward posts along the LoC in Balakote belt with automatic, small arms and mortar bombs on the intervening night of 13 and 14 August.

On August 13, Pakistani troops had resorted to firing by small arms and automatic weapons on forward posts along LoC in Bhimbher Gali (BG) sector of Poonch district, in which one jawan was injured. There were four ceasefire violations in three sectors of Krishnagati, Bhimbhergali and Pallanwala in Poonch, Rajouri and Jammu districts on the intervening night of August 12-13.

Last month, there were 19 ceasefire violations in which four persons, including three jawans, were killed and 14 others injured. Pakistan violated the ceasefire 192 times along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir till July 26, government had told Lok Sabha.