JAMMU: Nine soldiers among 11 people were killed while 16 others injured in border skirmishes this month between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control in in Jammu and Kashmir.
Amid one of the worst fatalities in recent times, the month also saw over 110 livestock falling prey to shellings and firings by the Pakistani army in which nearly 35 structures, including over two dozen houses, were damaged along the LoC in Rajouri district alone.
The repeated skirmishes saw over 4,000 villagers from near borders to government camps at safer places in the district.
"The month has seen greater ceasefire violations along LoC in the state. The aim was to engineer infiltrations and push in more and more militants in J&K," said a senior Army officer adding that Indian forces too aptly retaliated to the shellings by the Pakistani army.
The security agencies attribute the increased shelling and firing by the Pakistani army to their support to the Pak-based terror group Jamaat-ud-Dawa's "Year of Kashmir" campaign to make the LoC "more active to highlight the Kashmir issue."
Known as Lashkar-e-Taiba earlier, JuD has now named itself Tehreek Azadi Jammu and Kashmir (TAJK).
On July 21, 28-year-old rifleman Jayadrath Singh was killed when Pakistan army resorted to firing at Indian Army posts in Sunderbandi sector of Rajouri district.
Singh belonged to village Bhagwanpur of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh. He is survived by his wife Mamta Devi.
A junior commissioned officer, Subedar Shashi Kumar, who was grievously injured in an unprovoked ceasefire breach by Pakistan in Naushera on July 18, died at Udhampur Command Hospital on July 19.
Subedar Kumar was a native of Galon village of Hamirpur district in Himachal Pradesh. He is survived by his wife Santosh Sharma and children.
The July 18 ceasefire violations by Pakistan also saw two Army jawans, Sepoy Jaspreet Singh, 24 and Rifleman Bimal Sinjali, 21 killed in Naushera and Nowgam sectors of Rajouri and Kupwara districts respectively.
Eight people including 5 jawans had suffered injuries that day.
"More than 110 livestock were reported dead and two dozen houses damaged. A total of 35 structures including private houses, government buildings including schools, were damaged in recent mortar shelling in Nowshera," said Rajouri Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.
On July 18, Pakistani troops also targeted school children, shelling their schools and trapping 217 of them in in 3 schools in Kadali and Seha areas of Rajouri near the LoC for 6 hours. The Army and state police, however, rescued and evacuated them to safer places in bullet-proof vehicles along with other people totalling 261.
Earlier on July 17, one Army jawan and a girl were killed when the Pakistan army violated ceasefire twice in two sectors and resorted to firing at Indian Army posts and civilian areas in Rajouri and Poonch districts.
The victims were identified as 37-year-old Naik Muddasar Ahmed of militancy-infested Tral belt of South Kashmir and 9year-old girl Sajada.
On July 15, another jawan, Lance Naik Mohmmad Naseer, 35 was killed and yet another injured in Pak shelling along the LoC in Rajouri district.
Two other jawans, Lance Naik Ranjit Singh and Rifleman Satesh Bhagat, both of Jammu, were killed along LoC on July 12, in Pakistani firing in Keran sector of North Kashmir sector.
Four days earlier on July 8, jawan Mohammad Showkat, who was on leave, was killed along with his wife, when his house was hit by a Pakistani army's mortar shell in Poonch sector. Four people were injured.
The officials said there have been 23 incidents of ceasefire violations, one attack by Pakistan's notorious Border Action Team and two infiltration bids by Pakistan-backed militants in June in which 4 people, including 3 jawans were killed and 12 injured.
On June 29, two Indian Army jawans were injured when Pakistani troops fired from small arms and shelled mortars on forward posts and civilian areas along the LoC in Poonch district.
Even on the occasion of Eid-ul Fitr on June 26, the Pakistani army had fired small arms and automatic weapons and shelled mortars along the LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Rajouri.
On June 22, in the third such attack this year, a team of Pakistani special forces sneaked 600 metres across the LoC into the Poonch sector and killed two Indian jawans, but lost one Border Action Team (BAT) member in retaliatory action.
It had carried out the attack at around 2 PM on an Army patrol party in the Gulpur belt of Poonch on 22 June under heavy cover fire by Pakistani troops.
In the firefight, two Indian soldiers, Naik Jadhav Sandip, 34, of Aurangabad and Sepoy Mane Savan Balku, 24, of Kolhapur were martyred.