India Issues Demarche to Pak Over Civilian Deaths in Cross-Border Firing in J&K

A second demarche was also conveyed on Monday night to protest the attack on two Indian fishing boats by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency on Sunday.

New Delhi: India on Monday issued a “strong demarche” to Pakistan over the killing of three civilians in cross-border firing on April 12, with the message conveyed formally over the phone and email to the Pakistani high commission.

Both countries are in the midst of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, with India and Pakistan recording 8,048 and 5,478 cases of infection till April 13, respectively. However, the line of control (LoC) continues to remain a hotspot, with frequent cross-border firing taking place even during this period.

On Sunday, three persons, including a woman and an eight-year-old, were killed and five others injured in cross-border shelling in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

A day after, official sources said that the a “strong demarche was made to the Pakistan side on the killing three innocent Indian civilians in unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan forces on 12 April”.

Due to the current lockdown situation in India with rules of social distancing, it is learnt that the demarche was first sent through email – as a formal communication. Thereafter, a phone call was used to verbally convey the demarche to the senior official in the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi, as per sources.

India is currently going through a three-week lockdown period, which ends on April 14, but is likely to be extended in some form or other.

A demarche always has a formal communication element, which is written and conveyed through email or a hard copy. But, if a point has to be made further, then it is verbally conveyed through a physical meeting.

Also read: Pakistani Troops Violate Ceasefire Along LoC in Uri, Keran Sectors of J&K

In normal conditions, a phone call is usually not used to convey demarches, but just to make appointments for meetings. During the meeting, the written communication is handed over and also verbally delivered.

A second demarche was also conveyed separately in a similar fashion on Monday night. The latter to protest the attack on two Indian fishing boats by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency on Sunday, as per sources.

According to Indian Express, PMSA opened fire on a fleet of fishing boats near the international maritime border off the coast of Gujarat, injuring one Indian fisherman.Local police said that Indian fishermen sent distress signals, which were picked up by the Indian coast guard.

After the Indian agencies contacted their Pakistani counterparts, the fishermen aboard the two fishing boats were released with due verification, Rohan Anand, Superintendent of Police of Devbhumi Dwarka district told the Indian Express.

While diplomatic practice in New Delhi has had to adapt to the Indian lockdown, Indian high commission’s charge Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned by Pakistan foreign ministry’s director general (South Asia and SAARC), Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Dawn reported.

The Pakistan army has claimed that a two-year-old was killed and four others injured due to firing by Indian forces in the last 24 hours.

“The Indian occupation forces along LoC and the Working Boundary have continuously been targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-calibre mortars and automatic weapons. This year, India has so far committed 749 ceasefire violations to date,” said the Pakistan foreign office statement.

Pakistan claimed that India was raising tensions along the border in order to “divert attention from the worsening human rights situation occupied Kashmir”.