Pak violate ceasefire, targets civilian areas, forward post in Kupwara

Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing and shelling, targeting civilian areas and forward army posts at the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector in the frontier district of Kupwara in north Kashmir late Thursday night, official sources said on Friday.

Pakistani firing killed two people and injured four others critically after mortar and other shells fired by Pak troops in Tangdhar sector exploded in civilian areas.

Sources said panic gripped when Pak troops fired mortar shells and resorted to heavy firing at the LoC, targeting civilian areas and forward army posts. Some of the shells landed at TP post and Panzgam, around 2100 hrs when most people were present in their homes. People rushed out of their house and took shelter in safe places.

Indian troops retaliated and the exchange of fire continued for over an hour, they said adding there were no reports of any casualty or damage to property on this site. However, damage suffered by Pak troops was not immediately known.

For the past two months, people living within the five-km area at the LoC in the frontier district of Kupwara and Uri in Baramulla are living in fear as nobody knows when and where the Pak shell will land.

We were living peacefully since 2003 when India and Pak agreed for a ceasefire on the LoC and the International Border (IB) in the Jammu and Kashmir, the residents said. However, Pak troops have been violating ceasefire after long intervals, Mohammad Ashraf Khan, a resident of Panzgam said over the phone from Kupwara adding the number of ceasefire violations by Pak has increased in recent times.

Senior army and police officers said Pak troops are violating ceasefire to facilitate infiltration of militants from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) into the Kashmir valley. There are over 300 trained militants waiting at the launch pads near the LoC to sneak into the Indian side before these routes are closed due to snowfall.

However, the officers said that security forces guarding the LoC are on high alert to foil any infiltration bid by militants from POK. Though a majority of the infiltration bids from POK have been foiled by alert Indian troops, some militants had managed to sneak into this side, the officers said.