Eight people including three soldiers, a Border Security Force (BSF) officer and four civilians were killed when Pakistan violated ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) at Uri, Nowgam, Keran and Gurez sectors in north Kashmir.
Among the four dead civilians included a woman and a seven-year-old boy. All civilians were killed in Uri. Two civilians were killed in Kamalkote village and one each in Balkote and Gokhan villages of Uri where shells and mortars landed in the villages close to the Line of Control.
The Army blamed Pakistan for the ceasefire violation and said three soldiers were killed in the unprovoked violation. “Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violations along the LoC, spread across multiple sectors to include Dawar, Keran, Uri and Naugam. Pakistan used mortars and other weapons,” said Defense spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia. He said that Pakistan deliberately targeted the civilian areas.
“Our own troops retaliated strongly causing substantial damage to Pakistan Army’s infrastructure and casualties across the LoC. Several ammunition dumps, fuel dumps and multiple terrorists’ launch pads have been damaged.”
In Nowgam sector, a BSF officer posted at Atma complex was killed in the shelling. He was identified as sub inspector Rakesh Dobal.
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SSP Baramulla Abdul Qayoom said that shelling is still going in some areas of Uri. “Four civilians were killed in Uri and another four were injured.”
The ceasefire violation was reported from all the important sectors starting from Uri to Gurez. All these sectors have this year witnessed multiple ceasefire violations and soldiers were on high alert.
Locals in Uri said the Indian and Pakistani soldiers are targeting each others’ pickets at Haji Peer and Kamalkote sectors on the LoC since the morning. The locals said small arms and mortars have been used during the shelling which has spread panic among the villagers near the LoC.
“This was one of the deadliest shelling in many years in the Uri sector when four civilians were killed in a day. Some shells hit the residential houses,” said Iqbal Ahmad, a resident of Uri. “The people are very scared as we could see the mortars and shells landing in the villages,” another civilian Mukthair Ahmad Khawaja said.
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The situation in the main town Uri was tense as ambulances were sent towards the villages on LoC to ferry injured civilians.
Uri has witnessed over a dozen ceasefire violations in the past six months.
The shelling has also been reported from north Kashmir’s Keran and Gurez sector since morning where the mortars have landed close to civilian populations near Izmerg, Baktore and Tarabal localities which are just a few kilometers away from the LoC.
From the past one year, the Gurez sector has also witnessed an increase in ceasefire violations. Two girls were injured in Baktore and both of them were referred to Srinagar for treatment.
“We were attending an election meeting when shelling began around 11 am. The intensity of shelling was heavy and people ran for cover. The markets also got closed and many people took refuge in underground bunkers. Now the shelling has stopped but people who have underground bunkers, have taken shelter in them,” said Zaheer Ahmad, a government official posted in Gurez.
Three civilians were also injured in Tangdhar sector, which was also pounded by the shelling.
Defense spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said that suspicious movement was observed by troops at the forward posts along the line of control (LoC) in Keran sector today.
“The suspected infiltration bid was foiled by alert troops. This was accompanied by initiation of an unprovoked ceasefire violation (CFV) by Pakistan along the LoC in Keran Sector by firing mortars and other weapons. Befitting response is being given,” he said, and added that ceasefire violations spread to larger areas from Keran to Uri Sectors.
“This was the second infiltration attempt within a week. The earlier unsuccessful infiltration bid in Machhal Sector on 7/ 8 November, was foiled, in which three terrorists were eliminated,” he said, adding that the Indian Army is well poised to defeat all attempts by Pakistan to infiltrate terrorists into J&K.
On November 7 and 8, three infiltrators, three soldiers, including a captain and a BSF jawan were killed in Machil near the LoC.
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