KARACHI, Pakistan / SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir
Pakistan Wednesday accused Indian border security forces of initiating “unprovoked” firing along the border of disputed Kashmir region, which killed a young girl, and injured six others.
“Indian army troops initiated unprovoked cease-fire violation along LOC (Line of Control) targeting civil population in Hot Spring Sector. An 18 years old girl, embraced Shahadat (martyrdom), while six innocent people, including two women, and two girls got injured in Fatehpur and Tahi villages,” Pakistan army said in a statement, referring to a de facto border, across which the two armies faced off for decades.
Pakistani army troops, it added, responded effectively, targeting Indian army posts/troops. According to the Pakistan army, India committed 1,877 violations of a 2003 cease-fire agreement this year, in which 15 civilians — including six women and five children — were killed, while 144 people were injured — including 46 women and 37 children.
The clash happened when the Muslim-majority region marked the first anniversary of India’s unilateral decision to revoke decades-long special status of disputed valley.
On Aug. 5, 2019, the Indian government revoked Article 370 and other related provisions from its Constitution, scrapping the state with its autonomy. It was also split into two federally administered territories.
Simultaneously, it locked down the region, detained thousands of residents, imposed movement restrictions and enforced a communications blackout.
An Indian army spokesperson, for his part, accused the Pakistani army of violating the cease-fire at the LOC in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district.
“On Aug. 4, the Pakistani army initiated unprovoked cease-fire violation along LoC by firing with small arms, and shelling with mortars in Krishna Ghati sector, District Poonch (J&K). Indian Army is retaliating befittingly,” the spokesperson said.
The shelling came a few days after an Indian soldier died in a Pakistan shelling on Aug. 1, the spokesman said.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Already strained relations between the two nuclear rivals have further plummeted after India’s controversial annexation move.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
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