MUZAFFARABAD: The Army shot down an Indian reconnaissance drone, the second in two days, after it intruded into Azad Kashmir from across the Line of Control (LoC) on Friday, according to the military’s media affairs wing.

“Pakistan Army troops shot down an Indian spying quadcopter which came from Kanzalwan sector, intruded 700 metres into the Pakistan side of the LOC in Nekrun sector,” said Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, director general of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a late night tweet.

Pakistan had shot down an Indian spying quadcopter in Rakhchikri sector of Haveli district on Wednesday after it intruded 650 metres into Azad Kashmir.

The Kanzalwan sector gets its name from a village in Gurez valley, in India-occupied Kashmir’s Bandipora district. It is 45 kilometres from Srinagar.

On Wednesday also, an Indian quadcopter was downed in a different sector of AJK

The Nekrun sector is located on the AJK side of Gurez sub-valley in the upper belt of Neelum district. Gurez sub-valley lies beyond Kel, 155 kilometres northeast of Muzaffarabad. It is spread over 44 kilometres and extends till Taobutt, the last village in Neelum district of Azad Kashmir.

In August last year, two civilians lost their lives and another four were injured in Nekun sector (Gurez sub-valley) after heavy shelling by Indian forces.

Officials believe the Indian Army is deliberately escalating tensions at the LoC by sending spy drones and by resorting to unprovoked shelling. This constitutes a breach of the Nov 2003 ceasefire agreement.

On Friday, Indian troops resorted to ceasefire violations by using light and heavy ammunition in Bhimber district.

One woman, identified as Zahida Parveen, was injured in the shelling on Naali Meera village of Barnala Tehsil.

The shelling partially damaged four houses in Bandala Seri, Mela Kotli, Kotli and Khulabut Khambah villages of Samahni Tehsil.

Seven civilians have lost their lives and another 87 sustained injuries this year due to India’s ceasefire violations.

The Indian shelling destroyed 22 houses and five shops, besides partially damaging another 202 houses.

India’s actions have not spared animals either — almost 80 heads of cattle have perished in AJK this year.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2020