6 killed in 2 days as Pak intensifies shelling, India protests

Last Updated 16 August 2015, 13:11 IST
A woman was killed and five persons were injured today as Pakistani troops intensified shelling on border posts and civilian area in Poonch and Rajouri in continued ceasefire violations that have claimed six lives in two days, drawing strong protest from India.

There were ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Poonch, Sujiyan, Balakote, Hamirpur and Mandi sectors along the Line of Control in Poonch district for the eighth consecutive day. 35-year-old Nussarat Begum died in the shelling in Behrote village in Balakote sector, where two persons were injured, officials said.

Three persons were today injured in ceasefire violations in Manjakot in Rajouri, they said, adding six persons had died and 10 were injured in the shelling and firing since yesterday.

External Affairs Ministry today summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in Delhi and lodged a strong protest over the ceasefire violations. Basit, who was summoned by Secretary-East Anil Wadhwa, later accused India of ceasefire violations and said a more effective mechanism to determine who indulges in the "unprovoked firing".

Defence Spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said that Pakistani Army indulged in "heavy firing and mortar shelling on forward posts and civilian villages in five sectors in Poonch since this morning."

Army retaliated effectively and heavy exchanges are going on. A police officer said that 82 mm mortars were being fired by Pakistani troops in which Nussarat was killed. 32-year old Mustaq Ahmed was also injured in Sujiyan area and has been hospitalised, he said.

Due to continuous shelling from across in the border beltm, burial of those killed in the firing could not take place, locals said.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mendhar, Sher Singh said people in the border areas have been asked to stay indoor. "We are trying to identify safer places to shiftthe people," he said.

Political parties condemned the ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Governor N N Vohra discussed the situation along the Line of Control with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Vohra also called Army Northern Commander Lt Gen D S Hooda to discuss the issue.

Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, who met the injured at Government Medical College here, said Pakistan should desist from such action or it would have to face the consequences.

"The firing should stop. It is in their interest also. I have said, it is unacceptable that civilian are killed and injured. If Pakistan does not desist from such acts, they will have to face the music," he said.

The Deputy Chief Minister also announced an amount of Rs 5000 each to the injured as interim relief.

Strongly condemning the killing of innocent people in shelling by Pakistan, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the neighbouring country is indulging in "un-Islamic" actions.

"It is a sign of cowardice. Pakistan should feel ashamed of their cowardly acts be its terror attacks or firing and shelling targeting civilians," he said after meeting the injured at the hospital.

The opposition National Conference described th killings as "inhuman" and "unpardonable act".

Over 100 people have fled from Basoni and other adjoining hamlets in the wake of the shelling.

"The entire border population is living in constant fear and terror. We could not sleep for the second night due to shelling from Pakistan in and around in the village," said Mirina Kouser, who along with his family left the village.

Abdul Sattar, who lost his relative Moin, said that they are unable to bury him due to the shelling. "We want the government to bring an end to these ceasefire violations and save us," he added.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mendhar Sher Singh said, "Heavy shelling right from Mankote up to Balakote sector resumed this morning and the shells fell in interior areas of Mendhar. People are requested to stay indoor and avoid travelling on BG-Balakote road even from Dharana side".

"It has been conveyed to all sarpanchs of border belt to advise people not to go outside in villages in Tain, Mankote, Dharana, Gholad, Basooni, Balakote, Behroot, Sandote and Langot, Dharati, Panjani and Behrooti", he said.

There has been overnight heavy firing and mortar shelling in Hamirpur, Sujiyan, Mandi sectors in Poonch.

"We are rushing to the areas to see how people can be evacuated from the shelling and firing zones," Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, Nisar Ahmed told PTI.

There have been 38 violations of the 2003 ceasefire accord in August. There has been over 230 ceasefire violations along Indo-Pak border this year.

On Independence Day, five civilians, including a sarpanch were killed and five others injured in heavy firing and mortar bomb shelling by Pakistani troops at several Indian posts and civilian areas.

The offensive on I-day came even as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sent his greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying promoting friendly ties between the two neighbours was in mutual interest.

The dead were identified by police as 52-year-old Karamat Hussain, who is sarpanch of Basoni, 42-year-old Abdul Rahman, a teacher, and 17-year-old Mohd Sheraj Khan Amin.

As people assembled at the spot for evacuating them, they also came under Pakistani fire. A 10-year-old child died in shelling in Basoni alog with 18-year-old Mohmmad Amin.

Among those hospitalised are Mohmmad Ramiz (15), Mohd Bashir (26), Shah Nawaz, Abdul Rehman, Amin (25), they said adding they are undergoing treatment in GMC hospital Jammu and Rajouri hospital.

Last month, there were 19 ceasefire violations in which four persons, including three jawans, were killed and 14 others injured.
(Published 16 August 2015, 12:49 IST)

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