Tribune News Service
Srinagar, October 16. In a first major ceasefire violation in nearly a decade in Kashmir, three civilians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed in unprovoked firing by Pakistani soldiers at Churanda village in Uri sector of Baramulla district today.
A third civilian, Shaheena (20), who was pregnant, died of shock due to heavy shelling.
The Army will lodge a protest with Pakistan over the ceasefire violation.
“The firing at Churanda village, barely 120 metres from the Line of Control (LoC), was unprovoked. Pakistani troops had been firing intermittently at the village since October 3, for which we had also lodged a protest. Around 10.30 am today, they used heavy machine guns and fired 82 mm mortar shells, having a range of over 5 km, at the village.
One shell hit a house in which two persons, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed,” said Major General Bipin Rawat, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 19 Infantry Division. “One woman also died of shock.”
While the Army claimed that the third victim died of shock, a police officer who visited the scene said all three had died of splinter injuries.
“The girl had suffered a splinter injury in the head,” said a police officer in Baramulla.
The two dead civilians have been identified as Mohammad Liayaqat (14), and Mohammad Shafiq (32).
Sources said the Indian troops retaliated to the firing that lasted almost an hour.
Sources said local residents made announcements from the village mosque, urging the Pakistani side to stop firing as civilians had died in the shelling.
The three bodies were buried in the village in the evening.
Minister for State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani termed the incident “unfortunate”. “The killing of civilians in cross-border shelling is unfortunate,” he said. Ceasefire violations have been happening regularly in the Jammu region. Two villagers were injured in unprovoked firing across the International Border in Samba district of the Jammu region earlier this month.