Kashmir boundary tensions escalating
PRETORIA NEWS /
24 MAY 2018, 10:38AM /
BY MUNIR AHMED AND AIJAZ HUSSAIN
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Indian villagers take shelter after firing from the Pakistan side of the border into Jora farm village 35km within the Ranbir Singh Pura district of Jammu and Kashmir. Picture: AP
SRINAGAR, India: Tensions are soaring along the volatile frontier between India and Pakistan in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, as rival soldiers shelled dozens of villages and border posts for a sixth straight day yesterday.
Six civilians and a soldier were killed on both sides, officials from the two countries said. Violence is escalating in the disputed region that both countries blame the other for initiating.
Indian police said Pakistani soldiers continued targeting dozens of Indian border posts and villages with mortars and automatic gunfire in the Jammu region. At least five civilians were killed and 30 others injured on the Indian side, said a top police officer, SD Singh.
In Pakistan, two security officials said Pakistani and Indian troops exchanged fire near Sialkot city in eastern Punjab province. They said the two sides had traded fire over the past 48 hours, killing a civilian and a soldier.
The officials said several people were also wounded, including three border guards.
As in the past, each country accused the other of initiating the latest border skirmishes and violating a 2003 ceasefire agreement.
Yesterday’s fighting follows days of confrontations that left four civilians on each side and two Indian soldiers dead.
The fighting has sent tens of thousands of villagers fleeing from their homes in dozens of affected villages along the border to government buildings converted into temporary shelters or to the houses of friends and relatives living in safer places.
Dozens of schools in villages along the frontier have been closed and authorities advised residents to stay indoors as shells and bullets rained down.
Pakistan says Indian forces have carried out more than 1050 ceasefire violations this year, resulting in the deaths of 28 civilians and injuries to 117 others.
India says 25 civilians and 18 government troops have been killed this year in over 800 ceasefire violations initiated by Pakistan.
This year, soldiers from the two nations have engaged in fierce border skirmishes on the boundary separating Indian-controlled Kashmir and the Pakistani province of Punjab, where the latest fighting occurred. – AP