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Pakistan: Indian artillery firing kills soldier, 2 civilians in Kashmir

/ 05:22 PM April 30, 2020

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan — Indian artillery firing in the disputed Kashmir region hit Pakistani army posts and villages killing a soldier, a woman and a 16-year-old girl, Pakistani military and government officials said Thursday.

In a statement, the military blamed Indian troops for initiating an “unprovoked cease-fire violation” in the villages of Kailer and Rakhchikri along the Line of Control on Wednesday night.

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It said Pakistani troops responded and there were reports of heavy losses to Indian troops. The military said a 10-year-old boy and a woman were also wounded because of the Indian firing.

Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesman, said Pakistani troops attacked Indian positions with small arms and mortar shells in at least four places Wednesday evening. He called the firing an “unprovoked” violation of a 2003 cease-fire accord between the two countries.

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Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday it summoned an Indian diplomat in Islamabad in protest and conveyed to New Delhi that such cease-fire violations were posing a threat to regional peace and security.

Pakistani and Indian troops often trade accusations of violating the cease-fire in Kashmir, which is divided between them and claimed by both in its entirety.

Pakistani district administration official Mohammad Yousaf said Indian artillery fire hit Pakistani posts and two villages as residents were breaking their dawn-to-dusk fast as part of the holy month of Ramadan. At least three homes located near the Line of Control were damaged, he said.

Sardar Masood Khan, president of the Pakistani Kashmir, condemned what he said was the latest cease-fire violation by India, alleging the Indian army targeted civilians.

Anand said Indian troops responded “befittingly” and no casualties on the Indian side were reported.
Pakistan and India have traded fire in Kashmir in recent weeks despite both countries’ struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has killed 346 people in Pakistan and at least 1,079 in India.

Pakistan has repeatedly called for unity among South Asian nations to fight the virus.

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