A woman and a teenage boy were killed and six others wounded in two districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) after Indian troops resorted to shelling from across the restive Line of Control (LoC) on Sunday, civil and military officials said.
“Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing in Nezapir sector targeting civil population. A citizen embraced shahadat while 2 children [were] injured,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) reported in a brief statement.
The military’s media wing claimed that Pakistani forces responded ‘effectively’.
Nezapir sector is located in Haveli district. Haveli Deputy Commissioner Kashif Hussain told Dawn that shelling began at around 11am and continued till 4pm.
“Indians used both small and heavy weapons but got a befitting response from our side,” he claimed.
Hussain said a 16-year-old boy Rafaqat, son of Zakar, was herding cattle in Akhori Bala village when he fell victim to Indian shelling and lost his life.
In Kairni village of the same sector, eight-year-old Usama and his seven-year-old sister Mavia were injured, and shifted to a military-run health facility in Kahuta, the district headquarters, he added.
In Kotli district, Indian troops fired mortar shells at Tarkundi, Plani and Kalar Galla villages of Nakyal sector in the afternoon, “without any provocation, targeting unarmed and innocent civilian populations,” said Nakyal Assistant Commissioner Waleed Anwar.
A 25-year-old woman, identified as Tasleem Begum, daughter of Mohammad Sadiq, embraced martyrdom in Plani village, he added.
Her 27-years old namesake Tasleem Bibi, wife of Mohammad Khalil, and a 50-years old man Mohammad Javed, son of Fateh Muhammad, were also injured in the same village, he maintained.
Anwar said the victims were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital Kotli, where doctors had described the condition of woman as critical but the man was out of danger.
At about 6pm, Indian troops started mortar shelling on the other side of Nakyal sector, targeting Pir Klinjar, Dharoti and Balakot villages, the official said.
According to initial reports, Muhammad Atta, 18, and Raees, 20, were injured in Pir Klinjar and Mohra Gim village, respectively, he said.
“If the shelling continues, casualties may rise,” he feared.
The heavily militarised LoC is frequently witnessing ceasefire violations, in a serious breach of a truce agreement signed by the rival troops in November 2003, and as a result civilian casualties are taking place frequently.
On February 1, eight persons, four of them women, were injured in intense Indian shelling in Khuiratta sector of Kotli district.
On January 30, two women were injured in Goi sector, also located in Kotli district.