Pakistan again violates ceasefire along LoC in J-K's Rajouri

The shelling from across the border started in Nowshera sector around 12.30 pm, ending over 12-hour-long lull in the border skirmishes.

Published: 02nd March 2019 09:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd March 2019 09:45 PM   |  A+A-

A villager stands inside his damaged house after heavy shelling from the Pakistani side at Mendhar in Poonch district Friday March 01 2019. | PTI

By PTI

JAMMU: Pakistani troops Saturday again violated ceasefire along the Line of Control in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting strong and effective retaliation by the Indian Army, a defence spokesman said.

The shelling from across the border started in Nowshera sector around 12.30 pm, ending over 12-hour-long lull in the border skirmishes which intensified after India's pre-emptive strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed's terror camps at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan on Tuesday.

A young woman and her two children were killed and several others, including two Army personnel, were injured in heavy shelling along the LoC in lower Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district Friday night, raising the death toll in the exchange of firing on the Indian side to four.

"Pakistan continues with nefarious designs and at about 1230 hours, again initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by shelling with mortars and firing of small arms along the LoC in Nowshera sector," the spokesman said.

"The Indian Army is retaliating strongly and effectively," he said, adding that there was no report of any casualty on Indian side in the latest round of firing.

Meanwhile, all educational institutions within five-kilometer radius of the LoC remained closed for the fifth day Saturday as a precautionary measure, officials said.

They said the Indian forces are on high alert and keeping a close vigil along the LoC and the International Border (IB).

A police official said the shelling from across the border stopped around 11 pm Friday after intense firing which left 24-year-old Rubana Kosar, her five-year-old son Fazan and nine-month-old daughter Shabnam dead and her husband Mohammad Younis injured in Salotri village of Poonch district.

"The panic-stricken border residents in some worst-hit villages fled to safer places. There was no report of mass migration and people are staying back at their homes although the district administration had made necessary arrangements in case people are forced to flee their homes," the official said.

Poonch Deputy Commissioner Rahul Yadav said the health institutions are open and working round-the-clock to meet any eventuality.

"All ambulances have been mobilised and moved to the areas close to the LoC with special teams to help people in need," he said.

The Pakistan Army has violated the ceasefire for over 60 times during the last one week by targeting over 70 civilian and forward areas along the LoC in Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu and Baramulla districts of Jammu and Kashmir, also leaving nine persons, including some army personnel, injured.

Amid high tensions along the LoC, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh accompanied by White Knight Corps Commander Lt Gen Paramjit Singh visited forward posts in Rajouri Sector to review the operational preparedness on Thursday.

The year 2018 had witnessed the highest number of ceasefire violation -- 2,936 -- by Pakistani troops, in the last 15 years.

Pakistan continues to violate the 2003 ceasefire agreement with India despite repeated calls for restraint and adherence to the pact during flag meetings between the two sides.

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