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Indian shelling leaves two dead, six hurt in A JK

By Tariq Naqash 2017-06-02
MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistan on Thursday condemned India`s deliberate act of targeting civilians in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as two people were killed and six others,including four women, suffered injuries in unprovoked and intense Indian firing from across the Line of Control (LoC).

`India`s deliberate targeting of civilians is condemnable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws,` said Foreign Office (FO) spokesper son M. Nafees Zakaria in a tweet after the casualties took place in different villages of AJK`s southern Poonch district.

`The Indian troops started shelling in Battal sector at about 7am without any provocation, targeting civilian population with small arms and mortars, Poonch Deputy Commissioner Raja Tahir Mumtaz told Dawn.

He said that two men, one in his late 20s and the other in mid-60s, lost their lives to `intense` shelling from across the divide.

He identified the victims as Ghazar Ahmed of Kakuta village and Sardar Fazal Ahmed of Darra Sher Khan village.

Those injured Malick Mohammad Jamil and Syeda Faria Kabir in Battal village, Qazi Mohammad Safeer and Jabeen Mehboob in Lachyal village, Tayyiba Hanif in Rakkar village and Nasreen Akhtar in Mandhol village had been hospitalised, he said.

Mr Mumtaz said that due to shelling, students in the area could not take their intermediate examination.

`At our request, the intermediate board has cancelled today`s paper and it will be taken on a new date, he added.

Mohammad Ashfaq, a police official in the area, told AFP that several houses were damaged due to the mortar fire.

Earlier in a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the military, said that Indian troops `initiated unprovoked firing at Battal, Jandrot and Hotspring (Tatta Pani) sectors at [the] LoC in the morning.

Pakistani troops were `effectively engaging Indian positions`, it said.

The Samahni sector in the southernmost Bhimber district also witnessed an exchange of fire, but no casualties were reported from there.

`It was small arms fire which began in the small hours of Thursday and continued intermittently till noon, but fortunately no one was injured,` said Bhimber Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Guftar Hussain.

In Islamabad, the Foreign Office summoned India`s Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh to lodge a protest over unprovoked ceasebre violations along the LoC.

The heavily militarised dividingline in disputed Kashmir has been tense for quite some time, witnessing mostly civilian casualties.

On Wednesday, a 26-year old woman was injured in Nakyal sector of Kotli district and last Friday, a 60-year old woman was killed in Naali village of Bhimber district.

Last week, Indian troops had claimed that they attacked and damaged Pakistan army posts in AJK `to prevent militants infiltrating (into the India-held territory) from that side.

However, Pakistan had denied India`s claims.

AFP adds: The Indian army said one person was killed and one wounded in held Kashmir, blaming Pakistan for starting the exchange of fire.

In a separate bout of violence, two militants were killed in Sopore area of India-held Kashmir on Thursday, a police spokesman said.