Jammu, Oct 2:
Two children were killed and 12 civilians injured in firing and shelling by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district on Monday.
Five children were among the injured and the youngest was identified as five-year-old Zobia Kousar, who was airlifted to a hospital in Jammu in a helicopter.
The ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops along the LoC in Dighwar, Shahpur, Qasba, Kerni and Mandhar sectors started around 6.30 am and continued till 11.30 am, said Deputy Commissioner Poonch, Tariq Ahmad Zargar.
Officials said that the Pakistani army resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and also “pounded” the residential areas along the line of control.
A police spokesman said Indian troops guarding the border effectively retaliated to the “unprovoked and indiscriminate firing and shelling by Pakistan which targeted dozens of villages and posts in the sectors.”
“A nine-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl were killed and 12 others were injured in the Pakistani shelling and firing. Two of the critically injured persons were airlifted to Government Medical College Hospital Jammu for specialized treatment,” Zargar said.
The deceased were identified as Asrar Ahmad of Mohallha Qasba and Yasmeen Akhtar of Kerma village of Dighwar.
Two more seriously injured persons were shifted to a hospital in Jammu, while eight others were undergoing treatment at the district hospital. Ten of the injured were from Dighwar sector, while two others received splinter injuries in Kerni sector, the police spokesman said.
DC Poonch said Dighwar was the worst-hit in the shelling which sparked panic among the people.
However, he said the residents are reluctant to migrate from the affected villages.
The district administration has rushed ambulances to the affected villages to evacuate the injured, who were also provided immediate relief of Rs 5000 from the Red Cross fund. Zargar said the government has started construction of 40 community bunkers along the LoC for the safety of civilians.
“Work on construction of 40 underground community bunkers has started all along the LoC including areas which were hit
by Pakistan this morning,” he said adding the project is expected to be completed in the “shortest possible time.”
The year 2017 has seen a sharp increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Till August 1, there were 285 violations by Pakistani
forces while in 2016, the number was significantly less at 228 for the entire year, according to Army figures.
District administration has put all the emergency services on high alert in the backdrop of ongoing shelling and is ready with bullet proof bunkers for emergency evacuation of the public anytime amidst shelling. (Additional inputs from PTI)