Tensions soar along India, Pakistan border in Kashmir

Two more civilians killed as shelling from both sides continues in RS Pura sector in Jammu region.

by
    Relatives mourn over the dead body of Neelam Devi who was killed in the village of Pindi near Jammu [Jaipal Singh/EPA]
    Relatives mourn over the dead body of Neelam Devi who was killed in the village of Pindi near Jammu [Jaipal Singh/EPA]

    Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir - Two civilians and an Indian soldier were killed and twenty more wounded in the latest ceasefire violations in the border villages of Jammu region in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said.

    State police Chief Shesh Paul Vaid told Al Jazeera that the two civilians, including a 52-year-old woman, were killed in fresh shelling by Pakistani side in RS Pura sector in Jammu region on Friday morning.

    "One Border Security Force (BSF) trooper has also been killed in the shelling which continues since night," Vaid said, adding that twenty civilians were also wounded.

    On Thursday, an Indian soldier and a 17-year-old girl were killed in RS Pura and Arnia sectors of Jammu region, officials said, taking the death toll to five in twenty-four hours from the Indian-side.

    Despite a 2003 ceasefire, India and Pakistan regularly trade fire across the so-called Line of Control (LoC), the military demarcation between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

    India regularly accuses Pakistan of aiding fighters in crossing the LoC to attack Indian targets. Pakistani has been denying the charges.

    Since Friday morning, the soldiers of two countries traded heavy gunfire in RS Pura and Ramgarh sectors along the border, officials said, amid the growing tensions between the two neighbours.

    "The heavy shelling started from Pakistani side at night," one official told Aljazeera.

    An official said that Pakistani troopers violated ceasefire by resorting to indiscriminate firing at Indian positions in several sectors of the border. The fresh tension on the border has caused further turbulence in the relations between India and Pakistan.

    This is the third exchange of fire between the two countries in this sector in past three days, officials said.

    The Jammu and Kashmir police in a statement said that Indian forces are retaliating to the firing from Pakistan.

    Following the latest shelling, the officials said that the schools in the area were closed.

    The latest exchange of fire started after Pakistan accused Indian forces of killing four of their soldiers near the de facto border.

    Despite a 2003 ceasefire, India and Pakistan regularly trade fire across the so-called Line of Control (LoC), the military demarcation between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

    India regularly accuses Pakistan of aiding fighters in crossing the LoC to attack Indian targets. Pakistan has denied the charges.

    The hostilities increased between India and Pakistan since December last year after both accused each other of killing soldiers on either side.

    In September 2016, India claimed to have launched "surgical strikes" on bases used by armed groups in Pakistan-administered Kashmir to fight Indian security forces. Pakistan denied any Indian soldiers were ever on Pakistan-administered soil.

    Since independence in 1947, the two nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which both countries claim in full.

    The LoC has remained volatile in the last year. According to official figures, 860 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops were reported in 2017, compared with 221 the year before.

    Anti-India sentiment runs deep among Kashmir's mostly Muslim population, and most support the rebels' cause against Indian rule, despite a decades-long military crackdown to fight dissent.

    Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for the Indian-administered portion to become independent or merge with Pakistan.

    Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown. India maintains roughly 500,000 soldiers in the territory.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.