Civilians killed in Kashmir exchanges

Officials say two children among those killed in two incidents as Pakistan and India troops fire across disputed border.

Kashmir map

Pakistan and India have exchanged fire with each other across the border in the disputed region of Kashmir with gunfire and mortar shells, killing civilians, as both sides claim their troops were retaliating to provocations.

At least five people died and 29 were injured in unprovoked firing overnight on Monday by Pakistani troops in Arnia sector in India-administered Kashmir, according to an Indian army spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Pakistan claimed that Indian troops killed at least four civilians, including two children, and injured five others in unprovoked gunfire in Sialkot in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Pakistan said its troops only responded to the attack.

Rajnath Singh, India’s interior minister, warned Pakistan on Monday to stop ceasefire violations on the shared border in Kashmir as with the new government in power “the state of affairs is no longer the same as it was some time back”.

India claimed Kashmir has witnessed almost uninterrupted ceasefire violation by Pakistan since August 15.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the vice president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also warned Islamabad to be careful.

“These repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan are a matter of great concern and Pakistan should understand that this kind of behaviour is not good for her health,” said Naqvi.

Blame game

Soldiers from the arch rivals intermittently exchange fire on the Line of Control (LoC) despite an agreement in 2003 that a ceasefire should be observed along the working boundary.

In 2013, more than 200 ceasefire violations were recorded on the LoC, the highest in the last decade.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since both gained independence in 1947.

They have fought three wars and came close to a fourth in 2001.

India has for years complained that Pakistan backs separatists who slip in from Pakistan-administered Kashmir to stage attacks.

Pakistan says it only gives political support to the people of Kashmir, who it says face human rights abuses at the hands of Indian troops, a claim New Delhi denies.

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