Pakistani troops on resorted to shelling on civilian areas near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, killing a woman and injuring her husband and provoking retaliation by the Indian army in which two Pakistani soldiers were injured.
In the wake of the Pakistani action in Nowshera tehsil of Rajouri district, the schools in the area were closed down and an evacuation plan was activated under which over 1,200 people from various border hamlets are being shifted to safer places.
“Pakistani Army fired indiscriminately from small arms and automatic weapons from 2240 hours last night (10.40 pm on Wednesday) on Indian Army posts along the LoC in Naushera belt of Rajouri district,” a defence spokesman said in Jammu on Thursday.
The Pakistani Army initiated indiscriminate firing, using small arms, automatic rifles, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars, he said.
A shell hit a village in Laam belt of Naushera sector on Thursday morning, killing 35-year-old Akhtar Bi and injuring her 40-year-old husband Mohmmad Hanief, Senior Superintendent of Police Rajouri Yugal Manhas said.
Hanief said the couple was sleeping outside their house and ‘when the shelling and firing started, we went inside the house. After some time, a shell hit our house and both of us were injured’.
His wife died on the way to the hospital, he said.
“We have become the sitting ducks for the target practice of Pakistan troops. They have targeted civilian population. (Indian) Army should give a befitting reply,” Hanief said.
The Indian Army retaliated effectively, injuring two Pakistani jawans, defence sources said.
After the Pakistani shelling, Sub Divisional Magistrate of Nowshera tehsil issued an order, directing closure of all schools in the area as a precautionary measure.
“All schools close to the LoC were shut in Nowshera tehsil of Rajouri district as a precautionary measure today following the death of a woman and injuries to her husband in shelling by the Pakistan Army,” a senior police officer said.
An evacuation plan has been put in place in view of the intermittent shelling and firing along LoC, the officer said.
The government has set up camps in safer places in Nowshera, he said, adding over 1,200 people from Sher Makari, Namakdali and Khamba border hamlets are being shifted.
The latest ceasefire violation comes 10 days after the beheading of two Indian soldiers by Pakistan’s Border Action Team, which had crossed the LoC and sneaked 250 metres inside the Indian territory in Poonch under the cover of heavy mortar fire by their colleagues.
According to the home ministry, Pakistan breached the truce along the LoC 449 times in 2016 and 405 times in 2015. 23 security personnel were killed in the two-year period.
IMAGE: A resident living near the border points out damage caused to the wall of a government middle school by mortal shelling from pakistan, at Jhanghar area near the Loc border on Thursday. Photograph: PTI Photo