Srinagar: It is an alarming situation in Kupwara after three civilians including a woman, a teenager and an 8-year old were killed in India-Pakistan cross-border shelling on Sunday.
Besides the deaths and destruction, another point of concern is the three did not live any way near the actual Line of Control.
The deceases lived in villages over 50 kilometres away from the LoC and just 20 km away from the main district headquarters.
The three civilians, two from Chowkibal and a minor from Timuna village, were killed when shells from Pakistan landed deep into the village bringing death and destruction with them.
The LoC is about 70 km from Kupwara, via both Tangdhar and the Keran sector.
The deceased have been identified as Shamima Begum (37), wife of Gulzar Ahmad Hajam, Javid Ahmad Khan (16) son of late Ghulam Rasool Khan – both residents of Reddi Chowkibal, and Zeeshan Bashir (08) son of Bashir Ahmad Khatana of Timuna.
At least, four more persons including an elderly Ghulam Hassan Pir (60) of Reddi village were injured in the shelling
Besides, several houses and a vehicle was damaged in the shelling.
While Army called it “unprovoked shelling” from Pakistan and said the country was targeting civilian population in Kupwara Sector near the Line of Control, residents of the area told The Kashmir Monitor that they had already flagged the risk after mortar guns were installed in an open ground close to the village.
“The Army installed guns in a sports field in Rawatpora-Panzgam area next to a garrison. And now there is retaliation leading to loss of civilian life and property,” a resident of Kupwara told The Kashmir Monitor.
Back in October last year, Pakistani mortar fire had damaged many houses and property and injured many civilians in Reddi village, which then was a unprecedented incident for the villagers who had never witnessed shells landing so deep inside the district.
While on borders, people have some sort of protection due to bunkers, these villages don’t have any.
“We don’t know how to save ourselves. If a shell can land here, it can land right in Kupwara town as well,” another resident of Chowkibal said.
“Neither this area is close to Machil, Keran or Tangdhar nor are these villages part of the LOC area. Shells reaching here is an alarm which we shouldn’t ignore. It is bad signal. It means a war like situation is on the cards,” he said.