Two-year-old among civilians killed in India, Pakistan LoC firing

Tensions flare again in disputed Kashmir as armies of the two nations barrage each other with heavy artillery fire.

India-Pakistan international border in Kashmir
India and Pakistan both rule parts of Kashmir but claim it in its entirety and have fought two of their three wars since 1947 over the Himalayan region [EPA]

At least four civilians, including a two-year-old boy, have been killed after Pakistan and India exchanged fire across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed Kashmir region between the two countries, officials said.

Tensions between India and Pakistan flared as both armies targeted civilian areas on Sunday with heavy artillery fire in violation of the 2003 ceasefire accord. 

Shri Ram Ambarkar, an Indian police officer, said three civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed when shells fired from the Pakistani army hit homes at two locations along the LoC in the Kupwara area of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Ambarkar said some people were also feared injured as authorities launched a rescue operation.

A statement released by the Pakistani military on Monday said the Indian army “initiated unprovoked ceasefire violations” along the LoC, “deliberately targeting civilian population in Baroh, Dhudnial, Rakhchikri and Chirikot sectors”.

“Due to indiscriminate Indian fire of heavy weapons and mortars, a two-year-old minor Muhammad Haseeb in Dhudnial sector, embraced ‘shahadat’ (martyrdom),” it said, adding that four citizens, including a woman and a 72-year-old man, sustained serious injuries.

India and Pakistan both rule parts of Kashmir but claim it in its entirety. They have fought two of their three wars since 1947 over the Himalayan region.

Repeated violations

Since Friday, Pakistan’s military has charged India with repeated violations of the ceasefire along the frontier. 

A Pakistani army statement said heavy artillery fire by India “deliberately targeted civilians” on the Pakistani side of the border. 

The military said on Sunday that two people were seriously hurt overnight and had to be evacuated.

On Saturday, the Pakistani military said six people, including a child, were wounded when Indian soldiers launched a barrage of rockets and mortars into civilian areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Earlier this month, five Indian special forces and five Kashmiri rebels were killed in fierce fighting in the area along the frontier.

The latest fighting has seen for the first time this year use of heavy artillery targeting civilian areas.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training anti-India fighters and also helping them by providing gunfire as cover for incursions into the Indian side.

Pakistan denies this, saying it offers only moral and diplomatic support to the fighters and to Kashmiris who oppose Indian rule.

Al Jazeera’s Asad Hashim contributed to this report from Islamabad, Pakistan

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies