MUZAFFARABAD: A four-year-old boy lost his life and four other civilians were injured in different areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Sunday in Indian shelling from across the restive Line of Control (LoC), officials said.

Neelum deputy commissioner Raja Mahmood Sha­hid told Dawn that Hussain Mir, son of Mohammad Younus Mir, died in Bantil village of tehsil Sharda after the Indian army resumed shelling at about 2pm on Sunday.

“The innocent boy was hit by shrapnel from a mortar shell in the first bout of shelling while he was standing in the courtyard of their house. He died on the spot,” he said.

Bantil is part of revenue village Tehjiyan and located five kilometres before Dudhnial.

Both Tehjiyan and Dud­hnial were severely hit by Indian troops on Friday, during which four people were injured and 33 heads of cattle killed, apart from considerable damage to property.

Mr Shahid said material losses in Sunday’s shelling were yet to be ascertained.

In Haveli district, shelling resumed on Sunday in Rakhchikri sector, leaving Waqar Hussain Shah, 26, and Mohammad Sharif, 70, injured in Hundi Piran and Kairni villages, respectively, police official Raja Khalid Kiani told Dawn from the area.

On Saturday evening, Tayyab Hussain Shah, 35, was injured in Seerhiyan village of Chirikot sector in the same district, he added.

In the neighbouring Poonch district, Afzaal Ali, a 14-year-old boy, was critically injured in Polas village of subdivision Abb­as­pur after shelling started in the area at about 6:30pm, police official Abdul Wudood said.

Early in the morning, Zarina Bibi, 50, was injured in Gaahi Barhu village of Samahni sector in the southernmost Bhimber district, according to SSP Bhimber Mir Abid.

The Nakyal sector of Kot­li district was also being indiscriminately shelled by Ind­ian troops, residents said. There were no reports about casualties, they added.

“Indian army is targeting Mohra Dharoti, Balakot, Nara Lanjot and other adjoining villages. As I speak to you, I can hear the thunder of mortars and artillery,” Abdul Qayyum Tahir, a Nakyal-based journalist told Dawn by telephone.

“However, we will be able to ascertain losses only when the shelling stops,” he added.

According to Syed Shahid Mohyiddin Qadri, AJK’s secretary for civil defence and disaster management, fresh casualties have pushed the number of martyrs in AJK since the start of 2020 to three and those of the injured to 54 — 38 males and 16 females.

Taking to Twitter, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider wrote: “Unprovoked, indiscriminate and unrelenting ceasefire violations by Indian Army were not only causing civilian casualties and damages but also disturbing our efforts to contain Covid-19 in areas along the restive ceasefire line [LoC].”

“Will the [UN Secretary General] Antonio Guterres take serious note of this beastliness,” he questioned.

Working boundary

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that Indian army had resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation late last night along the Shakargarh sector of Working Boundary as well, targeting civilian population.

A 57-year-old resident of Nangal village [in Shakargarh sector] had sustained serious injuries, the ISPR said.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2020

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