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MUZAFFARABAD/SIALKOT: Four people were killed and six others were injured in unprovoked firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.

However, no casualties were reported from villages situated along the Working Boundary in Sialkot and they experienced reduced intensity of firing by the Indian Border Security Force who used light and heavy machine guns fire instead of mortar shelling.

Casualties along the Line of Control occurred in different villages of the Nakyal sector in Kotli district which has been experiencing shelling for several days.

“Indian troops again resorted to unprovoked firing along the Line of Control in Nakyal, Jandrot and Kel sectors,” Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

Casualties occurred in different villages of the Nakyal sector in Kotli district

“Pakistani troops are befittingly responding and targeting Indian posts,” it said. Jandrot is located in Kotli while Kel lies in the Neelum valley.

An AJK official told Dawn from Nakyal that there had been intense shelling since 8am, with Indian troops “directly targeting civilian populations with both small and big arms”.

“Three men and a woman have died while six others have been hospitalised with wounds,” Nakyal sector’s Assistant Commissioner Sardar Zeeshan Nisar said.

Those killed in the shelling were identified as Nek Mohammad Mughal, Mohammad Shafi, Abdul Qayyum and Zainab Bibi.

“Since the shelling is continuing, we are unable to instantly collect all details and I am afraid there may be more casualties,” Mr Nisar said.

Javed Budhanvi, a former AJK minister, told Dawn from THQ Hospital Nakyal that heavy shelling had forced the entire population to stay indoors.

“The shelling is so intense that you cannot even imagine… There has been no let-up in it since morning,” he said.

He asked the AJK government to immediately compensate families of deceased and injured persons, like the Punjab government had done at the Working Boundary.

At the Working Boundary, the Indian Border Security Force reduced the intensity of its shelling on Monday from mortar to light and heavy machine guns fire on Sialkot border villages. According to senior officials of the Punjab Rangers, the BSF resorted to unprovoked firing on Monday with light and heavy machine guns on Sialkot border villages, instead of mortar shelling.

Tension prevailed in the villages of Bajwat, Chaprar, Harpal, Bajra Garhi, Sucheetgrah, Charwah and Shakargarh sectors because of 11 days’ continuous mortar shelling. The people living in these villages have already moved to safe places in Sialkot city and its surroundings areas. Hundreds of heads of cattle have been killed in the affected villages because of the Indian shelling. Special teams of livestock and veterinary health department have been busy in giving medical treatment to the injured cattle-head.

Narowal District Livestock Officer Dr Saima Iram Syed told Dawn that as many as 25 small and big heads of cattle were killed and more than 70 heads of cattle were seriously injured in the Indian shelling in Shakargarh sector villages.

Almost all houses, school buildings, cattle sheds and other buildings in Sialkot border villages have been damaged. All government and private schools remained closed for the 11th consecutive day in the affected areas.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2016