Indian troops shelled a picturesque valley in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Tuesday as the region observed the 70th anniversary of the foundation of a rebellious government, leaving two women dead and five men wounded, officials said.

The death toll, however, soared to three after a 12-year-old girl, who was injured by Indian firing in another area last week, succumbed to her wounds, the officials added.

The fresh casualties occurred in Leepa valley in the afternoon, during which Indian troops used small and heavy arms, said Deputy Commissioner of Jhelum Valley district Abdul Hameed Kiani.

Leepa valley is situated some 100 kilometres southeast of Muzaffarabad in the Jhelum valley district.

“Initially the shelling was restricted to army posts, but later the Indians also started pounding civilian populations in what has been their regular practice,” he said.

Kiani said the details of losses could not reach them instantly because the communication network in the mountainous area was erratic. “But so far, the reports received from the affected areas confirm the martyrdom of two women,” he said.

The deceased were identified as Maryam Dar, wife of Imran Dar, and Sumaira Mir, daughter of Younus Mir — residents of Naukot village.

Sumaira was due to tie the nuptial knot after two weeks, her relatives said.

The injured, identified as Munir Nazir, Shakil, Rafique Subhan, Zeeshan Rafique and Anwar Baig, were being provided treatment at a local military-run health facility.

Last time Leepa valley was hit by heavy Indian shelling on July 21, when a young boy was killed and three other members of his family were injured. Prior to that, four members of a family were injured in the same valley in overnight shelling on June 8.

Young girl dies

Adeeba Kosar, a 12-year old daughter of Mohammad Taj, who was injured on Oct 18 in Dothala village of Nakyal sector in the southern Kotli district, lost her battle for life at a hospital in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, assistant commissioner Waleed Anwar confirmed.

She was buried in her native village later in the afternoon, he added.

On October 18, as many as eight persons were injured in different villages of Nakyal sector. The heavily militarised LoC has been witnessing an exchange of heavy fire for quite some time in a serious breach of November 2003 ceasefire agreement.