Three civilians were killed and 17 injured in Jammu’s RS Pura sector as Pakistan pounded border areas with mortar shells on Friday — the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Indo-Pak war. The latest ceasefire violation has taken the number of people killed by Pakistani firing to nine in August alone.
A Border Security Force (BSF) official said India retaliated in equal measure. “Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing late last night initially with small arms and later fired mortars shells at BSF posts and civilian areas in the RS Pura sector. The BSF fired back,” the official said.
Pakistan, meanwhile, summoned Indian high commissioner TCA Raghavan to lodge a protest over alleged ceasefire violations by India, saying eight civilians had died and more than 46 were injured in the “unprovoked firing”.
Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif accused India of disregarding international conventions and norms and alleged a link between “Indian-sponsored terrorism” and “violation of the ceasefire along the LoC”.
Tensions have been running high along the line of control (LoC) for the past few weeks, compounded by the cancellation of NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan and terror attacks in Udhampur and Punjab.
Two Pakistani militants with suspected Lashkar links were also captured in J&K this month. The chiefs of the BSF and Pakistan Rangers are scheduled to hold talks from September 9-12.
Six civilians were killed in ceasefire violations on August 15 and 16 in Balakote area of Poonch district along the LoC.
The latest casualties included two women of the same family in Sai village in RS Pura. Locals said the village, around 45km from Jammu, was pounded by 15 mortar shells.
Reacting to Friday’s firing, Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh said India should declare Pakistan a terrorist state.