5 members of a family were killed and two others were injured due to mortar firing along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Pir Panchal Valley on Sunday morning. India and Pakistan both have been blaming each other for violating the 2003 ceasefire.
An Army spokesman said in Jammu that the Pakistani Army opened “an unprovoked and indiscriminate firing” from 7.45 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. near the LoC in the Balakote sector of Poonch.
“Small arms and 81-mm and 120-mm mortars were used by Pakistan to attack innocent civilians, their homes and livestock. The provocation has resulted in the loss of five precious and innocent civilian lives,” Lt. Col. Devender Anand said, as reported by The Hindu.
The Army also said that they “retaliated strongly, effectively and proportionately to the dastardly act.”
Mohammad Ramzan, 35, his wife Malika Bi, 32, Abdul Rehman, 14, Mohammad Rizwan, 12, and Razaq Ramzan, 7, were killed in a mortar shell explosion near their home in Devta Dhar village. They were in their house and getting ready for breakfast when the mortar shell hit.
Their two daughters, Mehreen, 6, and Noureen,12 are critically injured and were airlifted to a hospital in Jammu.
Five soldiers were also wounded in the shelling and were subsequently airlifted to Udhampur for treatment.
Poonch Deputy Commissioner Tariq Ahmad Zargar asked people living in those vulnerable areas to shift their bases and move to safe places designated by the administration. “Construction of 40 community bunkers are at a finishing stage here. A process to build individual household bunkers in targeted areas will be started soon for the safety of civilians,” he said.
According to The Hindu, nine people were injured across the LoC in the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
The Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, expressed her condolence and concern over the incident in two tweets.
Data suggests that there have been 192 ceasefire violations this year in Jammu and Kashmir. “The unusual escalation resulted in a high death toll. The casualties in January 2018 alone equalled the figure for the entire 2017. And 2017 itself was an exceptional year for ceasefire violations, as it saw a six-fold increase from 2015,” said the report released by the BJP leader and former Union Minister, Yashwant Sinha, and his Group of Concerned Citizens.