MUZAFFARABAD - Indian troops continued firing mortar shells, rockets and bullets on forward Pakistani posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rawalakot’s Lanjot Sector for the third consecutive day on Monday.
Unprovoked firing from across the border also continued targeting villages in Kotli district’s Nakyal Sector, injuring six civilians on Monday. Two women were killed and six other civilians injured Saturday night when some mortar shells hit houses in a village in the same sector, some 200 kilometers south of AJK’s capital Muzaffarabad.
Pakistan Army also responded to the Indian firing from time to time. Several hundred villagers have fled their homes after the deadly cross-border shelling by the Indian army, Pakistani officials said Monday. Those who did not flee were terrified and remain restricted to their homes.
“Since Sunday at least 40 families or 300 people have left their homes in 10 villages in Nakyal sector to escape shelling by Indian troops,” said Javed Budhanwi, a cabinet minister for the regional government in Pakistani Kashmir. The summer holidays for schools along the LoC have also been extended until August 31 for safety reasons, officials said.
Most of the displaced, from Datoot village, have been given shelter at camps set up in colleges in the town of Nakyal, Budhanwi said. About 10 families have moved in with relatives and more people are expected to flee in the next few days if the Indian firing continues, he added.
“We are requesting villagers to remain inside their houses as Indian troops are targeting the civilian population with small arms and heavy weapons,” he said. Many villagers have dug trenches outside their houses for when the shelling starts, he said.
Four civilians were wounded by Indian fire on Monday, local government official Masood-ur-Rehman told AFP. He also confirmed that families had started to flee. So far seven Pakistanis are reported to have been killed in the Indian firing.
Pakistan and India had agreed to a ceasefire along the LoC in November 2003, but skirmishes have flared.
3 Indian troops killed?
According to unconfirmed reports, Indian forces suffered heavy losses as a result of Pakistani forces retaliating to their fire. One report said that at least three Indian soldiers were killed in Bagh sector.