Soldiers take position near the Line of Control LoC in Poonch after cross-border shelling from Pakistan.
STATE TIMES NEWS
Jammu: Two minors were killed and 12 civilians injured in cross-border shelling on Monday by Pakistan along the LoC in Poonch district, a senior government official said.
Five children were among the injured, the youngest being five-year-old Zobia Kousar who was airlifted to a hospital in Jammu in a helicopter.
The latest ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Dighwar, Shahpur, Qasba, Kerni and Mandhar sectors started round 6.30 am and continued till 11.30 am, District Development Commissioner, Poonch, Tariq Ahmad Zargar said.
Those killed have been identified as Ashfaq Ahmed, 9, a resident of Naka Qasba and Yasmeen Akhter,15, a resident of Degwar. Eight of the 12 injured have been identified as Saleema, 45, Soheeb Akhtar, 11, Mohd Sadiq, 35, Yasar, 12, Mohammad Sadiq, 45, Muneer Hussain, 45, Mohd Rafiq, 38, Reshmabi, 70 while five year old Zobia was earlier airlifted to Jammu.
A police spokesman said Indian troops guarding the border effectively retaliated to the unprovoked and indiscriminate firing and shelling by Pakistan which targeted dozens of villages and posts in the sectors.
“A nine-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl were killed and 12 others were injured in the Pakistani shelling and firing. Two of the critically injured persons were airlifted to Government Medical College Hospital Jammu for specialised treatment,” Zargar said.
The deceased have been identified as Asrar Ahmad of Mohallha Qasba and Yasmeen Akhtar of Kerma village of Dighwar.
He said two more seriously injured persons were shifted to a hospital in Jammu, while eight others were undergoing treatment at the district hospital. Ten of the injured were from Dighwar sector, while two others received splinter injuries in Kerni sector, the police spokesman said.
The district development commissioner said Dighwar was the worst-hit in the shelling which sparked panic among the people. However, he said the residentsare reluctant to migrate from the affected villages and have moved to safer places within their villages.
The district administration has rushed ambulances to the affected villages to evacuate the injured who were also provided immediate relief of Rs 5000 from the Red Cross fund.
Zargar said the government has started construction of 40 community bunkers along the LoC for the safety of civilians.
“Work on construction of 40 underground community bunkers has started all along the LoC including areas which were hit by Pakistan this morning,” he said adding the project is expected to be completed in the shortest possible time.
Chief Minister, Mehbboba Mufti has expressed grief and anguish over the killing of two minors during cross LoC shelling in various parts of Poonch district.
In a statement, the Chief Minister said that it is very unfortunate that these teenagers became victims of fire power when they were yet to understand the nuances of politics.
The Chief Minister has directed the district administration to ensure specialized treatment to the people injured in the shelling.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh also condemned the firing along the LoC and expressed sympathy with the families of those killed and prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls.
National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah and Working President Omar Abdullah also expressed deep grief over the deaths and extended deepest condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for peace to departed souls. They also wished speedy recovery to those injured.
The two leaders expressed anguish over continued firing and shelling from across the LoC and International Border and called for ending the hostilities. He said the brunt of border skirmishes is being faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially those living in forward areas.
Dr Abdullah called for adherence of ceasefire agreement, saying the beneficiaries of this would be the hapless people living on borders.
The NC President and the Working President expressed solidarity with the bereaved families and those whose dear ones have been injured in the shelling.
Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and Information, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali also expressed grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives in cross-border shelling in Poonch.
He expressed solidarity with the bereaved families and assured every possible support from the government to the affected people
PCC Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said that it is tragic that Pakistan has repeatedly violating ceasefire and it was so unfortunate that the unwarranted firing in Poonch Sector last night.
Sharma lashed out at Pakistan for repeated ceasefire violations and expressed deep anguish at the killing of innocent persons.
He demanded all necessary measures for the safety of people and all sorts of provisions for timely medical facilities to meet the unfortunate happening.
He termed the Centre and State government a total failure on all fronts and blamed it for the present situation of the State.
Sharma has also demanded adequate compensation to the victims and sought plots for the identified population of IB and LOC
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