A soldier was killed and three others were injured on Saturday as the Pakistani army violated the ceasefire by resorting to unprovoked firing of small arms and mortar shelling along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, officials said.
The soldier, manning a forward post, was killed and three others were injured in Degwar sector, they said.
Earlier, a defence spokesperson said Pakistan initiated the unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and shelling with mortars in the sector around 3.45 pm. Heavy firefights have been taking place between the countries along the border in various districts.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Indian Army said that “Pakistan violated the ceasefire in Mankote at about 6:30 by firing with small arms and intense shelling with mortars and the Indian Army retaliating”.
A civilian, named Nayamtullah (35), of Rajdhani village was also injured in Pak shelling last night. Chandan Kohli, Senior Superintendent of Police, Rajouri district said that the victim was hit by splinters of a mortar shell.
The Indian Army mounted an effective retaliation, the spokesperson said.
The casualties suffered by the Pakistani troops in the retaliatory action was not known immediately, the officials said, adding that the cross-border firing between the two sides was underway when last reports were received.
A police official said the Pakistani troops targeted civilian areas, besides the forward posts, causing panic among the local residents.
However, there was no report of any civilian casualties, the official said.
The deceased was identified as Naik Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur district in Punjab. His body has been shifted to Rajouri hospital for autopsy.
“Pakistan resorted to heavy shelling in civilian areas along the LoC in Manjakot sector on Wednesday night. An army jawan and a civilian were injured in the ceasefire violation. Pakistan has been targeting civilian areas along the LoC for the past few days with its sole aim to push armed militants into Indian territory,” a source said.
“In the early hours of Wednesday, Pakistan targeted the civilian areas in Nowshera sector. Later, it initiated ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and shelling with mortars in Balakote sector of Poonch district. The Army has been retaliating befittingly,” sources said.
On 4 June, an Army havildar was killed in mortar shelling in Sunderbani sector in Rajouri district.
For the past few months, Pakistan army has been desperately trying to push militants into Rajouri and Poonch districts under the cover of heavy artillery, mortar shelling and firing on the Indian army’s forward locations and civil areas.
So far, both India and Pakistan have engaged in over 3,000 ceasefire violations. Indo-Pakistani relations have been strained over the disputed territory of Kashmir which both the countries govern in part, but claim in full. The situation deteriorated when India scrapped the autonomous status of Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and converted the disputed region into a federally-administered territory.
This is the fourth encounter in Kashmir since Sunday. As many as 14 militants have been killed in the previous three encounters that took place in South Kashmir’s Shopian district.