At least one civilian was killed while seven others were injured in a village in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in yet another "unprovoked" ceasefire violation by Indian forces from across the Line of Control (LoC), local officials said on Monday.
According to Muhammad Zaheer, a disaster management officer in Haveli, Indian forces began shelling and firing in the Nezapir sector at about 3:45pm and in Khurshidabad sector at around 6pm on Sunday "without any provocation".
"They used both small and big arms and targeted civilian populations, restricting people indoors till late night," he said.
Rehmat Jan, a 45-year-old woman who lived in Mandhar village, died after being hit by the splinters of a mortar shell, Zaheer told Dawn. Another resident of the village, Begum Jan (48) was injured due to Indian shelling, he said.
Three civilians — Zainab Jan (60), Muhammad Naeem Dar (24) and Ulfat Rashid (17) — were injured in Kairni village while Munir Hussain (20), Kausar Parveen (26) and Nosheen (18) were wounded in Kachar Ban.
The casualties occurred in Khurshidabad and Nezapir sectors of Haveli district — which lies near the LoC — on Sunday night but the authorities shared the information with media on Monday. Haveli Deputy Commissioner Raja Arshad Mahmood said that since the affected villages are located near the LoC, details of the firing reached authorities late on Sunday night.
"After verification of each incident, the same has been communicated to the concerned offices in Muzaffarabad today," he said.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to lodge protest over the recent violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement, a press release by the ministry said.
Dr Faisal urged the Indian side to respect the ceasefire agreement and termed the targeting of the civilian population as "deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws".
"The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation," the press release read.
Casualties from ceasefire violations in 2019
Saeed Qureshi, a senior director at State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), said that after the latest ceasefire violation, the civilian death toll in the current year has increased to 22, including 13 men and nine women.
Of them, he said, nine have been killed in the Kotli district, six in Haveli district, three in Bhimber district, two in Jhelum Valley district and one each in Neelum Valley and Poonch districts.
About 11 army personnel have also been martyred along the LoC in the ongoing year, Qureshi added.
Around 114 people, including 65 men and 49 women, have been injured, he said. About 36 of the victims hailed from Kotli district, 27 from Poonch district, 24 from Haveli district, 19 from Bhimber district, seven from Jhelum Valley district and one from Neelum Valley district.
Qureshi said that around 18 houses and four shops have been destroyed and 220 houses, one mosque, two schools and five vehicles have been partially damaged.
Villagers have also lost at least 26 cattle heads due to shelling by the Indian forces in the ongoing year, he added.