MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Indian artillery fire in the disputed Kashmir region hit Pakistani army posts and villages that killed a soldier, a woman and a 16-year-old girl, Pakistani military and government officials said Thursday.
In a statement, the military blamed Indian troops for initiating “violations of ceasefire without reason” in the villages of Kailer and Rakhchikri along the Control Line on Wednesday night.
It said Pakistani forces responded and there were reports of large losses to Indian troops. The military said a 10-year-old boy and a woman were also injured by Indian fire.
Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand, an Indian military spokesman, said Pakistani forces attacked Indian positions with small arms and mortars in at least four places on Wednesday night. He called the shooting a “no reason” violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it had called an Indian diplomat in Islamabad in protest and told New Delhi that violations of such a ceasefire were a threat to regional peace and security.
Pakistani and Indian forces often trade allegations of violating the ceasefire in Kashmir, which is divided between them and claimed by both as a whole.
Pakistani district government official Mohammad Yousaf said Indian artillery fire hit Pakistani posts and two villages as residents broke their morning-to-evening fast as part of the holy month of Ramadan. At least three houses near the Line of Control were damaged, he said.
Sardar Masood Khan, president of Pakistani Kashmir, condemned what he said was a violation of the latest ceasefire by India, accusing Indian troops of targeting civilians.
Anand said Indian forces responded “appropriately” and no casualties on the Indian side were reported.
Pakistan and India have traded fires in Kashmir in recent weeks even though the two countries are struggling to contain the spread of the corona virus which has killed 346 people in Pakistan and at least 1,079 in India. Pakistan has repeatedly called for unity among South Asian countries to fight the virus.
Associated Press writer Aijaz Hussain contributed to this story from Srinagar, India
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