Two individuals were killed and six others injured when Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing along the Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday morning.

"Indian troops opened fire at Battal, Jandrot and Hotspring sectors at [the] LoC," a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said early Thursday.

The statement added that Pakistani troops were "effectively engaging Indian positions" after the incident.

Local officials said two men were killed and six others, including four women, were injured in the cross-border firing incident.

The casualties took place in different villages of the Battal sector in the southern Poonch district.

The Foreign Office summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh to lodge a protest against the deaths of civilians in the incident of cross-border firing.

“The civilian population in vulnerable villages was caught off guard by the unprovoked firing, which started at about 7am,” Mohammad Usman, a police official in Hajira, a small town in Poonch District, said.

Usman said that two men, one in his late thirties and the other in mid-sixties, were killed after shells landed on their houses.

He identified the deceased as Ghazar Ahmed, son of Rashid, of Kakuta village and Fazal Ahmed, son of Said Khan, of Darra Sher Khan village.

Last week, a woman had been killed in a similar ceasefire violation by Indian troops.

Farzand Begum, 60, wife of Noor Hussain, perished when a shell landed on her house and exploded. She was a resident of Naali village in Bhimber district.

The latest incident of cross-border firing comes days after Indian army had claimed that it carried out an 'operation' on Pakistani posts along the LoC in a bid to prevent "infiltrators" from entering India.

However, Pakistan has strongly denied India's claims.

Tense relations

Incidents of cross-border firing have become a norm since the last months of 2016 as tensions simmer between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir issue. Exchanges of fire have been reported sporadically since the new year began.

Following the Uri army base attack in September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up a drive to 'isolate' Pakistan diplomatically.

In the days following the attack, India claimed to have conducted a cross-border 'surgical strike' against 'launch pads of terror' in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan strongly rejected.

Pakistan maintains that India has been attempting to divert the world's attention away from atrocities committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

Tensions between the two countries soared recently as India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to secure consular access for Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in Pakistan over his involvement in espionage and terrorism.

In a hearing of the case on May 18, a 10-member bench at The Hague restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav, who India claims is a retired naval officer.


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