No letup: 5 more civilians, soldier killed in Indo-Pak firing
Srinagar, Jan 20: At least five civilians – three on the Indian side and two on Pakistan’s – and an Indian army soldier were the fresh casualties in the ongoing India-Pakistan border skirmishes that have devoured at least 12 lives since Thursday.
Those killed on the Indian side on Saturday included a 15-year-old boy, and one soldier while several others were injured in cross-border firing that has been going on for the three consecutive days in three districts of Jammu and Kashmir along the international border, officials said.
Ten persons (on the Indian side) have been killed so far, police officials said.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Jammu confirmed the killing of three civilians at Jammu border.
The Army soldier was killed during cross-border firing in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district, an officer said.
A defence spokesman identified the slain soldier as sepoy Mandeep Singh (23), a resident of Alampur village of Sangroor in Punjab.
He claimed that Pakistani Army initiated “unprovoked and indiscriminate” firing in Krishna Ghati sector and the Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively.
The officer said two civilians, Gaura Ram (15) of Kapur R S Pura and Gour Singh (45) of Abdullian, were killed and five others injured in firing by Pakistani rangers along the IB in Jammu district.
Meanwhile, civilians continued to die on the other side as well. A media report from Pakistan said that two civilians were killed and five others wounded on Saturday in firing by Indian troops in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir (PaK).
Dawn News reported that the casualties occurred in different villages of Nakyal sector in Kotli district of PaK, which were targeted by Indian troops from across the restive Line of Control (LoC) throughout the preceding night and during the day.
“The area received shelling for most part of the night, but it was most “intense and indiscriminate” from 11:30am to 1:30pm,” the report quoted Waleed Anwar, assistant commissioner of Nakyalas as saying.
Anwar said one man was wounded past midnight, while a man and a woman were killed and four others were injured during the day.
“The shelling is continuing at the moment, though intermittently. Due to the diminution in severity of shelling people had started evacuating the victims to the nearest health facilities,” he said.
On the Indian side, Pakistan rangers targeted villages along the border from Chenab river (Akhnoor) to RS Pura throughout the night, news agency PTI quoting a Border Security Force (BSF) officer said.
The officer said: “Pakistan was targeting civilian villages to cause death and destruction and added that the Indian side was giving them a befitting reply”.
The continued skirmished has forced 8,000 to 9,000 people living along the IB migrated to safer places and most of them were living with their relatives, the official said.
Over 1,000 people are housed in camps in R S Pura, Samba and Kathua areas, he said.
Educational institutes have been closed for next three days along the IB and the LoC in Jammu region by authorities in wake of increased tension along the Indo-Pak border, officials said.