Indo-Pak Troops Trade Fire, Kill Woman

Srinagar: Two civilians were killed and three others injured Thursday when Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded gunfire and shelled each other’s border posts in Kashmir region, officials from the two sides said.

Indian army spokesman Lt. Col. Manish Mehta said Pakistani soldiers attacked Indian military posts on Wednesday night with automatic weapons and mortars in Nowshera sector along the highly militarized Line of Control dividing Kashmir between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Mehta said the Pakistani army “initiated indiscriminate firing,” and called it an “unprovoked” violation of a 2003 cease-fire accord. Indian police said a 35-year-old woman was killed and her husband was injured when a Pakistani shell hit their home.

However, Pakistan denied that it initiated the clash and accused Indian soldiers of firing and shelling in at least in five sectors, causing the death of a civilian and injuries to two others. The Foreign Ministry said it summoned an Indian diplomat in Islamabad to register a protest and “strongly condemned the unprovoked cease-fire violations” by Indian troops.

In the past, both countries have often accused the other of initiating border skirmishes that led to the deaths of soldiers and civilians.

Schools close to the LoC in Rajouri district were shut following the death of a woman in cross border firing between Indian and Pakistani troops on Thursday.

The authorities have also designated some schools away from the LoC, which divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan, as makeshift camps to lodge villagers leaving their homes near the de-facto border.

The district administration has alerted emergency services to deal with any eventuality because of the heightened tension at the border.

Earlier this month, India accused Pakistani soldiers of killing two Indian soldiers and mutilating their bodies. Pakistan denied the allegation.

Last year, Indian and Pakistani soldiers engaged in some of the worst fighting along the Line of Control since the two nations agreed to the cease-fire accord.

India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over Kashmir, a Himalayan territory claimed by both. They have fought two of their three wars over the region since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.


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