A 45-year-old woman was killed and 13 people injured in heavy shelling between Indian and Pakistani border forces in Samba and Kathua districts along the International Border on Saturday.
Two soldiers were killed in a fire caused in a forest by a Pakistani rocket in the Tangdar area.
While Army officials were unavailable for comment, the police said the soldiers were killed while dousing the fire.
On the Pakistani side, a 13-year-old girl was killed and another minor wounded in the shelling.
Border Security Force sources said the woman was killed at Mangu Chak of the Samba sector. “A woman and her 10-year-old son sustained critical injuries when a mortar fired from across the border landed on their house this morning. The mother died in the Government Medical College in Jammu,” a senior BSF official told The Hindu .
Pakistani Rangers begin unprovoked firing
Deputy Inspector-General Dharmender Pareek, spokesperson of the Border Security Force, said here on Sunday that the Pakistani Rangers began unprovoked firing and mortar shelling, targeting 13 posts along the border in Samba and Kathua districts.
Cross-border firing has >intensified along the International Border since New Year’s Eve when one BSF soldier and two Pakistani Rangers were killed in the Samba region.
While both India and Pakistan have blamed each other for the “unprovoked” firing, it is the civilians living along the border >who have borne the brunt of the violence.
Since October 6, more than 21 civilians have been killed on both sides of the border while over a hundred have been wounded. Thousands have fled their homes, leaving behind their cattle in safe shelters set up by the government.
“We don’t understand why our lives are under continuous fire. We don’t know when a shell [mortar] will fall in our courtyard or in our house,” Chaman Lal Dogra of Mangu Chak told The Hindu. “No one takes any pity on us.”
Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, said 14 villages were affected in the latest Pakistani firing.
“As a precautionary measure, we are evacuating 22 villages,” Mr. Choudhary said. “We have deployed buses to ferry the affected people from firing-affected regions and identified at least 34 buildings in safer areas for the civilians.”
The border skirmishes between India and Pakistan flared up after New Delhi called off diplomatic talks with Islamabad in August last year.