Soldier, wife killed in Pak shelling in Poonch

Indian and Pakistani troops traded heavy fire on Saturday along the Line of Control (LoC) at Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district.

Published: 08th July 2017 09:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2017 06:10 PM   |  A+A-

Smoke billows out from a forest after mortar shells were allegedly fired by Pakistani army in Naushera sector near the Line of Control LoC in Rajouri district. | PTI

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: An army man, who had come on a leave to spend time with his family, and his wife were killed and their two daughters are among three injured in Pakistani troops firing and mortar shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

Defence spokesman in Jammu, Lt Colonel Manish Mehta said Pakistan Army breached the border ceasefire and resorted to indiscriminate firing from small and automatics arms on army positions and civilian areas along LoC in Poonch district from 06.30 am.

He said the Pakistani troops also resorted to heavy mortar shelling.

The army men effectively and strongly retaliated, Mehta said.

The Pakistani troops firing and mortar shelling took place in Gulpur sector in Poonch district.

A police official said some mortar shells fired by Pakistani troops in Gulpur sector landed in civilian areas.

He said a mortar shell landed near the house of Territorial Army jawan Mohammad Showkat in Karmara village near the LoC.

35-year-old army jawan Showkat, who had come on a leave to spend time with family, and his 3-year-old wife Safiya were killed after sustaining critical splinter injuries of mortar shell, the official said.

Their two daughters Rubeena Kousar and Zahida Kousar and another girl Nazia Kousar daughter of Mohammad Mushtaq were injured.

They were referred to District Hospital Poonch, where they are undergoing treatment.

Deputy Commissioner Poonch, Tariq Ahmad Zargar, told New Indian Express that the Pakistani troops firing and mortar shelling stopped at around 10.30 am.

Asked whether the administration has prepared any evacuation plan, he said the evacuation plan is ready but border people are not willing to relocate as they have got their farms and livelihood in the area.

He said they have identified the locations, where temporary shelters would be set up for border residents.

Zargar said ambulances are kept on alert mode in border areas to shift the victims of cross-LoC firing to hospitals at the earliest.

He said an exgratia relief of Rs 5 lakhs is being paid to the dead in cross-LoC firing and shelling.

Today’s firing by Pakistani troops broke a near month long peace on LoC and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, a group of militants attacked a patrol party of army at Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district in the wee hours today.

Sources said militants fired from AK-47 rifles towards the army patrol.

They said the army men returned the fire and in the brief exchange of gunfire, three army men including a Captain-rank officer were injured.

The injured army men were evacuated to army hospital in Srinagar for specialized treatment.

After the militant attack, army men laid siege around the area and conducted combing and search operation to nab the attackers.

However, no arrests were reported during the hour-long operation.

No militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The militant attack took place as troops were on high alert in Valley on first death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani today.

22-year-old Burhan was killed in an encounter with security forces in Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on July 8 last year. His killing had triggered over five months long unrest in the Valley during which 90 people were killed and over 13000 injured in security forces firing on protestors.

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