Two civilians killed in Kashmir border skirmishes

India and Pakistan blame each other for initiating cross-border shelling that killed two people and injured a dozen.

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Pakistan and India maintain a 2003 ceasefire agreement across the border, but both sides frequently violate it [EPA]

A man and his daughter have been killed and a dozen people injured in the disputed Kashmir region as India and Pakistan exchanged fire over their de facto border, said officials from both countries.

Saturday’s incident was the second major ceasefire violation in the area in the last three days. Pakistan and India accuse each other of initiating the cross-border shelling.

An Indian military spokesman said that three of the wounded were relatives of the man who died in Indian-administered Kashmir.

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He added that Pakistani mortar rounds hit a house near the Line of Control that separates the two sides in Kashmir. 

Both sides stated that their troops responded to ‘unprovoked’ firing from across de border.

An official with the Pakistani Kashmir Information Department said that eight people, including five women, were injured in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The Pakistani military also issued a statement saying the “Indian Army has been targeting civilians on both sides of the Line of Control in recent past”.

It warns that any “misadventure by [the] Indian Army across the Line of Control […] shall be responded with full force and could lead to unintended consequences”.

On Thursday, two civilians were killed on either side of the disputed border.

Both countries have claimed the Kashmir region in full since partition and independence from Britain in 1947 but administer separate portions of it. The South Asian neighbours have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

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Tensions have been high in Kashmir since last July, when Indian security forces killed a young Kashmiri rebel leader, prompting months of widespread protests and an ensuing security crackdown in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed at least 80 people.

Relations between India and Pakistan plummeted after a raid in September on an Indian military base in Uri by Kashmiri fighters killed at least 18 soldiers.

That attack prompted India to respond by saying it launched “surgical strikes” on bases used by armed groups in Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Pakistan denied that Indian forces ever entered Pakistani-administered territory.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies