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Firing at LoC, India concerned

PM Manmohan Singh describes the development as worrisome and says that the Indian DGMO have taken up the matter with his Pakistani counterpart, reports Rashid Ahmed.
Hindustan Times | By Rashid Ahmed, Srinagar
UPDATED ON MAY 14, 2008 11:21 PM IST

The army has accused Pakistan of violating the ceasefire by firing on Indian positions near the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar sector in the Valley on Tuesday. A defence spokesperson said that the firing began at 6.15 a m and lasted for about 20 minutes. No casualties were reported. The spokesperson said Indian troops maintained restraint.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the development as “worrisome”. He said the Indian DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) had taken up the matter with his Pakistani counterpart. Defence Minister A K Antony also expressed concern. The Indian side called for a flag meeting on Wednesday to raise the issue.

This is the first time after Pakistan declared a ceasefire along the LoC in November 2003 that its troops have fired at Indian positions in the Valley. The incident took place ahead of next week’s bilateral talks. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukerjee is to visit Pakistan on May 21 and hold talks with his counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi as part of the composite dialogue between the two countries. The dialogue process resumes after a gap of several months following the political crisis in Pakistan.

Violence is witnessing an upsurge in the Valley as well as in the plains. Militants kidnapped two CRPF men at Keller in southern Shopian district and killed them on Tuesday evening. Police sources said the CRPF men were abducted while they were conducting a search operation in the area. Their bodies were later recovered in a nearby forest.

In a separate incident, four civilians were injured in gunfire at Dangiwach in Baramullah on Tuesday. Hundreds of people held demonstrations against the incident on Wednesday.

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