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ISLAMABAD/SIALKOT/MUZAFFARABAD: Heavy mortar shelling by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) on villages along the Working Boundary continued for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, killing two residents of villages in the Chaprar sector and leaving another eight badly wounded.

A schoolteacher from the southern Bhimber district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), who had been injured in shelling on Tuesday, succumbed to his wounds on Wednesday.

More than four people, including an infant, have been killed and 21 residents of villages along the Working Boundary have been injured since Monday.

For the third time in less than two weeks, the Indian deputy high commissioner was summoned to the Foreign Office where the South Asia and Saarc director general lodged a protest over ceasefire violations by the BSF in the Chaprar and Harpal sectors and along the Line of Control in the Bhimber sector. The Indian diplomat was asked to ensure that the incidents were investigated and that the findings shared with Pakistan.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the Rangers had responded to the shelling in a “befitting manner”.

Military sources told Dawn that the Pakistani troops had attacked a number of Indian posts along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. As many as five Indian soldiers had been shot dead and four Indian posts in the Bhimber sector had been destroyed in an exchange of fire since Tuesday, they said.

In the Bhimber sector, Sikander, 52, a schoolteacher, was hit in the jaw by a splinter of a mortar shell in Danna Baroh village on Tuesday. He was taken to a hospital in Kharian where he succumbed to his wounds on Wednesday.

Senior officials of the Punjab Rangers said that Abdul Aziz, 63, of Punwal village, Mubarak Ali, 50, of Singial village, Ghulam Rasool, 80, of Batian Kaman-Karloop village, and Ghulam Rasool, 70, and Aleeza, 11, of Karloop-Kingra village in the Harpal sector were in their homes when mortar shells fired by the Indian BSF exploded there.

They were taken to the Sialkot Combined Military Hospital in Rescue-1122 ambulances.

Most residents of villages along the border have moved to safer locations including Sialkot city, Daska, Pasrur and Wazirabad.

Sialkot District Coordination Officer Dr Asif Tufail said schools had remained shut on Wednesday as well. The district administration has set up seven emergency relief centres in various sectors. Rescue-1122 ambulances have also been stationed at border villages in the Chaprar and Kahliyaan-Bajwat sectors in case of an emergency.

Dr Tufail told journalists that the Punjab government had announced Rs500,000 compensation for the families of those killed in the attacks. Those injured would get Rs75,000 each.

The DCO visited the injured at the CMH. He was accompanied by MNA Chaudhry Armughan Subhani and AJK MLA Chaudhry Muhammad Ishaq.

Cross-border shelling began along the Sialkot Working Boundary early morning on Wednesday and continued throughout the day. It had not stopped by the time this report was filed.

Published in Dawn October 27th, 2016