MUZAFFARABAD: An old woman and a teenage boy were killed and another woman was injured after being hit by unprovoked Indian shelling from across the restive Line of Control (LoC) on Sunday, residents and officials said.
The casualties occurred in Nakyal sector of Kotli district, which has been constantly experiencing physical and material losses in ceasefire violations by Indian troops, they said.
The shelling started at about 3pm and it was indiscriminate in the beginning, said Raja Mohammad Akmal, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), in Kotli. Later, its intensity subsided and by 6.30pm it stopped, he added.
Residents said that at least two houses in Daryari Palani village were hit by the shelling, resulting in injuries to three persons. They were identified as Salamat Bibi, 60, and Razia Kausar, 30, and Zeeshan Ayub, 15.
“My mother had just gone to the house next door of Mohammad Wasim when suddenly Indian troops resorted to shelling,” Salamat Bibi’s son Chaudhry Khurshid told Dawn by telephone from the Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital. “Suddenly, a shell landed on Mr Wasim’s house, injuring his wife Razia Kausar and my mother,” he added.
The three were brought to an ill-equipped THQ Hospital in Nakyal, where doctors pronounced Salamat Bibi dead on arrival.
Razia and Zeeshan were referred to the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital in Kotli after initial treatment, but Zeeshan succumbed to his wounds after a short journey.
The distance between Nakyal and Kotli is around 37 kilometres, but residents say it takes them more than one-and-a-half hours to shift their injured from the THQ Hospital in Nakyal to the DHQ Hospital in Kotli due to the poor condition of road.
“Zeeshan was brought dead,” Zaheer Abbas, a medical technologist at the DHQ Hospital, told Dawn. Razia had been admitted and was out of danger, he added.
Funeral prayers for Salamat Bibi were offered at the ground of Boys Degree College in Nakyal.
On Saturday evening, Nazia Shakil, 32, and her son Nauman, 6, were injured after a shell landed in the courtyard of their house in Fatehpur village, SSP Akmal said.
Fatehpur village is located in Neza Pir sector of Haveli district.
In a statement, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider condemned the Indian shelling on civilian population and expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of two innocent lives.
Offering condolences to the bereaved families, he said their sacrifices would not go in vain. “The way Indian army is targeting the non-combatant Kashmiri population on both sides of the divide shames the cruelest mercenaries of modern history,” Mr Haider said.
According to officials, at least 40 civilians have lost their lives and another 191 sustained injuries in different areas of AJK along the LoC in 2019 due to ceasefire violations by Indian army.
A statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations said that India’s unprovoked firing in Nakyal and Rakhchikri Sectors along LoC was targeting civilian population.
Fire was being responded by the Pakistani troops, it added.
Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2019