A villager shows the wall of his house damaged due to firing from the Pakistan side at a village in R S Pura Sector.
At least 12 civilians were killed overnight Friday as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire at several points across their tense border, defence officials in both countries said.
The two nuclear-armed neighbors had agreed to a bilateral ceasefire in border regions in November 2003, and the agreement held for roughly a decade.
A senior Pakistani security official told AFP that Indian forces began firing around 3:00 am on Friday (2200 GMT Thursday) and continued intermittently during the morning. Intermittent firing between the two sides was sill going on as reports last came in.
Pakistan said six civilians were killed and 46 injured by “unprovoked” small arms fire and shelling near northeastern Sialkot district.
Indian media quote border officials on their side as saying that three civilians were killed and 16 injured in the pre-dawn “unprovoked heavy and indiscriminate shelling by Pakistan” in the area.
India also alleged that Pakistani shelling has left three civilians dead and 17 injured in Jammu’s R.S. Pora and Arnia sectors.
It is clear that Pakistani forces have been deliberately targeting the civilian areas which have triggered panic among the people. “They have restarted firing, shelling and killing civilians along the border line because they have been exposed on the worldwide front for supporting terrorism“. “The shelling was so heavy that the shells landed deep inside villages much away from IB”, said one of the police officers in the area. This was the third in a week when Indian deputy high commissioner was called to the Foreign Office to pass on solemn concerns expressed by Islamabad over unabated ceasefire breaches by Indian forces near the LoC that splits the disputed area of Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, those killed by Indian firing were laid to rest in a local graveyard in the presence of a large number of people on Friday. Of note, India has unofficially tolerated these meetings for years, but Modi has turned more hard line on Pakistan recently, and political analysts say wanted to demonstrate that the separatists’ Hurriyat umbrella organization was not involved in India – Pakistan relations.