SRINAGAR: With the killing of a 40-year-old woman along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector on Sunday, the death toll from the Pakistani shelling and firing in two days in Jammu and Kashmir has risen to six.
Defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta told Express over the phone from Jammu that Pakistani troops continued to violate the border ceasefire, which had come into effect in November 2003.
“Pakistani troops have been firing on Army positions and civilian areas in Sujiyan, Balakote, Hamirpur and Mandi sectors along the LoC in Poonch district since this morning,” he said.
Pakistani troops are using heavy weapons and resorting to intense mortar shelling.
“They were earlier firing 80 mm mortar shells and now they are firing 120 mm mortar shells,” Mehta said.
He said the Army was effectively returning the fire. “The exchange of fire was going on when reports last came,” Mehta added.
Sources said some shells fired by Pakistani troops landed in the civilian areas.
“A woman identified as Nusrat Begam wife, 40, was killed after a mortar shell fired by Pakistani troops hit her house in the Behrote village in the Balakote sector.
The woman, according to sources, was preparing breakfast for the family in the morning when a mortar shell landed in her house, causing her death.
Five people, including a sarpanch, teacher and 10-year-old boy, were killed in Pakistani shelling in the Balakote sector of Poonch on Saturday.
A top government official said they had advised people living in villages along the LoC to stay indoors.
“Since the Pakistani troops have been intermittently shelling civilian areas, it is not possible to evacuate people in such a scenario. We are keeping a close watch on the situation and people living along the LoC will be evacuated if a need is felt,” he said.
Sources said 15,000 people had been affected by the Pakistani shelling and firing. The residents living along the LoC in Poonch have urged the government to move them to safer places.
Sources said Pakistani troops also violated the ceasefire in the Manjakote sector along the LoC. “Some shells fired by Pakistani troops landed in Khorinar village in the Tarkundi Manjakote sector. The injured have been hospitalised,” an official said.