The death toll in Sunday’s Indian shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) increased to three, as one of the three injured persons succumbed to his wounds in the wee hours of Monday at a health facility in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), officials said.
On Sunday night, two persons were killed and another three had been critically wounded in AJK when Indian forces opened fire across the restive dividing line.
The casualties had taken place in Fatehpur village of Nezapir sector in Haveli district, which came under “unprovoked” Indian shelling from 10pm to 11pm, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Chaudhry Kashif Hussain said.
One shell landed in the house of Shaikh Mushtaq, 65, a retired schoolteacher, leaving his children Naveed, 32, and daughter Asma, 20, dead on the spot, Hussain said.
Naveed ran a photocopy shop while Asma was a BSc student.
Mushtaq, his wife Naseema Begum, 55, and another son Ansar, 25, were critically injured and hospitalised in Forward Kahuta, district headquarters of Haveli.
However, at about 2:30am, Ansar was rushed to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan Hospital, Rawalakot — in the neighbouring Poonch district — owing to his serious condition, but he did not survive.
Doctors at the hospital pronounced him dead on arrival at about 4:30am, Hussain said.
Funerals of the deceased would be offered in their native village on Monday afternoon, a family member said.
Earlier on Sunday, Indian troops had also shelled Nezapir sector from — 3pm to 5pm — but no casualties were reported during that spell.
Though there was no immediate word from the Inter-Services Public Relations — the army’s media wing — some residents claimed Pakistani troops had also responded to Indian shelling.
Condemning the “unprovoked and indiscriminate” shelling, AJK’s Minister for Information Mushtaq Minhas said it was the “height of barbarism” on the part of Indian troops to target innocent civilian populations along the LoC.
“Targeting the unarmed non-combatants with small and heavy arms is a criminal breach of international laws and conventions which warrants for immediate intervention of the international community in general and the United Nations in particular,” he said in a statement.
He warned that inaction on the part of the UN could instigate a full-blown war along the LoC.
The heavily militarised LoC that splits the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan has been witnessing sporadic skirmishes and artillery duels for quite some time, in serious violation of a truce agreement signed by both sides in 2003.
The last casualty at the LoC was reported on August 21, when a 45-year old woman was injured in the Dhal Khambah village of the southernmost Bhimber district.
However, the latest casualties have pushed the death toll in AJK in the ongoing year to 27 while another 175 have received injuries, according to local officials.