5 family members killed in Pakistan shelling along LoC in J&K

5 family members killed in Pakistan shelling along LoC in J&K
In one of the worst ceasefire violations in recent years, five members of a family, including minors, were killed while two others were injured in Pakistani shelling in Balakote sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district on Sunday morning.

“Due to shelling from across (LoC) in Balakote sector of Poonch, 5 civilians of a family died and 2 are injured who are being shifted to the hospital (sic),” state police chief Sheh Pal Vaid tweeted.

Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said the ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Bimber Gali started around at around 7:45 am and they were specifically targeting civilian areas. Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively to silence Pakistani guns, he said.

Reports said the civilian casualties occurred in forward village Devta Dhar when a shell hit the house of Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan. The dead include the house owner, a woman, a boy and a minor girl, reports added.

Eyewitnesses told DH over phone that Pakistani troops used small, automatic weapons and mortar shells to target the border hamlets. “Sound of heavy shelling was heard in more than five kilometres area along the LoC sending a wave of fear and panic among the villagers,” they said.

“The terrified villagers rushed towards their houses and took shelter in safer areas including bunkers,” they added.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti sent her condolences to the family of those who lost their lives. “Anguished to hear of 5 people losing their lives in the crossfire along the LoC in Balakote sector of Poonch. My deepest condolences to their family," she said.

Pakistan army has been violating ceasefire along the LoC and international border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir frequently. Since the third week of January, 26 persons, including 12 security personnel and 14 civilians, have been killed in Pakistani ceasefire violations along the LoC and the IB in Jammu.

In February, four Army personnel, including a 22-year-old Captain, were killed in Pakistani shelling along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts.

The Indian and Pakistani armies had agreed on a ceasefire along the LoC, the international border (IB) and along Actual Ground Position Line at Siachen glacier in November 2003. Although it held good for 10-years, in the last few years, Pakistani troops have violated the ceasefire agreement hundreds of times.

India shares a 3,323-km-long border with Pakistan of which 221 km of the IB and 740 km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir.

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