World Bulletin/News Desk
Heavy firing along the contested Kashmir border between Indian and Pakistani soldiers Saturday has killed two people and wounded 10 others, officials said.
A 13-year-old Pakistani girl was killed and an 8-year-old boy was wounded, while on the Indian side a 45-year-old woman was killed and nine others, including two children, were injured in exchanges between soldiers from both sides of what is known as the Working Boundary in the Kashmir region.
The fresh round of firing started on New Year’s Eve, killing one Indian and two Pakistani soldiers.
Since then, several villages on both sides of the border are being evacuated amid heavy shelling.
Both countries claim that the firing began unprovoked from the other side.
“The heavy firing started from the Pakistani side and we have also retaliated strongly to the firing,” a spokesperson of the Indian Border Security Force said.
“The Indian Border Security Force yet again resorted to unprovoked firing on working boundary near Sialkot today (Saturday),” said a statement issued by Pakistan army’s media wing, the Inter Services Public Relations. “Pakistani rangers are befittingly responding.”
According to sources in the Indian Border Security Force, 13 border outposts on the Indian side are under Pakistani fire since Friday night while India is also targeting the Pakistani outposts along the border.
Indian Deputy Commissioner in the Samba area, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said that the administration was evacuating civilians living along the border to prevent any further casualties.
People on both sides of the border are leaving behind their homes for safe shelters as heavy shelling continues.
“Our lives along the border are the worst lives. We are always under these mortar shells all the time and no one seems to care as if our lives have no value,” Somnath Malhorta, a civilian from Mangu Chak village, told Anadolu Agency.
The cease-fire violations along the border intensified since the new Indian Hindu right-wing government called off diplomatic talks with Pakistan in August 2014.
Since September, more than 20 civilians have been killed in border shelling and over 100 wounded.
With both nuclear powers refusing to talk diplomatically, the response to the firing has been more firing.
Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, told the media that Delhi would give a befitting reply to the Pakistanis, adding: “Today or tomorrow, they will fall in line.”
“We have been given clear instructions from above to keep our finger on the trigger, and we are pounding the Pakistanis like we had never done in the past,” a senior official of Indian Border Security forces told Anadolu Agency.
Even though a cease-fire agreement was signed in 2003, the two rival nuclear natıons frequently blame each other of firing on the Working Boundary and on the Line of Control (LOC), a de facto border that divides disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three full-fledged wars, of which two were over Kashmir, in the last 66 years.Last Mod: 03 Ocak 2015, 13:02