MUZAFFARABAD: At least two people were martyred after Indian shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) hit a marriage ceremony in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Sunday, officials said.
The incident occurred in Darra Sher Khan village of Battal sector in Poonch district which has been facing cross-LoC shelling for the past several days.
“Today the shelling began at 6.30pm and continued for two hours without any pause. However, it is intermittent at the moment,” a police official based in the area told Dawn at 10pm, but declined to be identified.
He said one of the shells landed close to the venue of the wedding of one Mohammad Aqeel, son of Mohammad Siddique Bhatti, in Darra Sher Khan village.
Splinters of a shell pierced the groom’s 60-year-old uncle Hassan Din aka Balochi who had come all the way from Dadyal tehsil of Mirpur district to attend the ceremony.
Apart from him, 63-year-old Lal Din, son of Mohammad Din, a resident of Darra Sher Khan village, was also hit by splinters.
Both people died on the spot, the official said.
He said that since the communication facilities were also affected by the heavy shelling, immediately there was no report of any other losses.
Dr Umer Azam, Deputy Commissioner of Kotli, told Dawn that Tatta Pani sector in his jurisdiction had been hit by shells fired from across the divide until 8.30pm. Tatta Pani is adjacent to Battal sector of Poonch district.
“Fortunately, no human loss has been reported from within Kotli district,” he said, adding that some cattle were killed and houses partially damaged in the Indian shelling.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of Pakistan Army, said Indian forces had lobbed mortars and rockets at the civilian population “without any provocation”, leaving two civilians martyred.
It said the Pakistan Army had befittingly retaliated to the Indian shelling and there were reports of the killing of at least two Indian soldiers.
Condemning the shelling at civilian populations, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said it was a failed attempt to divert the world’s attention from the situation within the Indian occupied territory, which had been on a lockdown for the past two weeks.
“In some of my meetings with some Congressmen and state representatives, I found them deeply concerned over the situation in India-held Kashmir. They want an end to this situation [in IOK] through a peaceful settlement of the festering issue, something which India is unable to digest and that’s why it has been flaring up tensions along the LoC,” he said, in a statement from the US, where he is on a weeklong official tour to hold some meetings.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2019