Tension grips LoC after Pak army kills two civilians in Poonch

Srinagar: Tension gripped Line of Control on November 3, when the Pakistan army resorted to heavy firing and shelling on Indian forward positions and civilian areas. The attack left two villagers including a 35-year-old woman dead and nine others injured.

The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon when Pakistan army resorted to heavy and shelling using small arms and mortars in Shahpur and Kirni sectors of Poonch district in Jammu. “At about 2.30 pm, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing small arms and mortar shelling in Shahpur and Kirni sectors of Poonch,” said Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand, a defence spokesman at Jammu.

Pakistan targeted civilian areas using long-range mortars to inflict maximum casualties. One of the shells landed in the nearby village, killing two civilians — Gulnaz Akhtar and Shoib Ahmad. The Pakistani shelling injured nine others, including two women and a minor boy, in Shahpur area.

Troops guarding the LoC immediately swung into action and retaliated with equal measure to silence the Pakistan guns. “Indian army is retaliating befittingly,” said Lieutenant Colonel Anand.

Reports pouring in from Poonch said the heavy exchange of firing was continuing on the Line of Control. Several houses suffered damages as Pakistani shells landed deep inside Indian villages.

Pakistan has been continuously targeting civilian areas and forward positions along the LoC. This year, so far, 32 people have been killed in Pakistani firing along the LoC and the International Border (IB).

Official figures reveal that there have been 950 cases of ceasefire violations along the LoC between August and October. More than 2,300 ceasefire violations were carried out by Pakistan this year so far against 1,629 in 2018

It is in addition to heavy calibre long-range weapons including 120 mm mortars, which have a range of 7.2 to 9.5 kilometres, and 81 mm mortars having a maximum range of 6.5 kilometres, to inflict maximum damage deep into the civilian areas.

Meanwhile, Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh today reviewed the overall security situation in the Kashmir Valley. Accompanied by Chinar Corps Commander Lieutenant General KJS Dhillon, the Northern Army Commander visited the formations and units in the hinterland in South Kashmir. He was briefed by commanders on the ground regarding the operational and logistic preparedness.

Commending the alertness and high morale of all troops, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh stressed upon the need to maintain vigil and defeat terrorist designs.

“He impressed upon everyone to safeguard the interests of the people. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh also appreciated the synergy maintained through the joint efforts of all agencies which he said was the most critical aspect in conduct of successful counter-terrorist operations,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, a defence spokesman at Srinagar.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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