4 killed in Kashmir fire exchange

:: Peoples Time Online ::

Pakistani and Indian troops exchanged gunfire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing four civilians and wounding nearly a dozen others, officials from both sides said on Wednesday, as tensions remain high between the two South Asian countries.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it summoned an Indian diplomat to lodge its protest over the previous day’s “ceasefire violations” that killed three civilians, including two children, on the Pakistani side of the contested Kashmir border.

In neighbouring India, Lt Col Devender Anand, an army spokesman, said” “Pakistan fired at two dozen Indian army posts along with the highly militarized Poonch sector Monday and Tuesday.”

He also said: “Pakistani troops used mortar and machine-guns and targeted several villages as well.”

Anand blamed Pakistan for initiating the fire and said Indian troops “befittingly” responded to what he called a series of unprovoked ceasefire violations.

Earlier, an Indian civil administrator, Rahul Yadav, said that a young woman and several cattle were killed because of Pakistani firing in the Poonch sector Tuesday.

Also Wednesday, Indian police officer Parvaiz Ahmed said Indian security forces killed three militants in an exchange of gunfire in southern Kashmir after receiving intelligence that a group of militants was hiding in the town Bijbehara town.

Police also said gunmen fatally shot one brick kiln worker and one apple trader from the Indian states of Chhattisgarh and Punjab states on Wednesday in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Another trader from Punjab state was critically wounded after gunmen sprayed bullets in the southern Shopian area, a police officer said. The police officer blamed militants fighting against Indian rule for the killings. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with reporters.

Kashmir’s largest indigenous rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen, had warned that it would target Indians visiting Kashmir if New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status.

Peoples Time/HG

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