This is the first time in past 13 years that highest number of people killed on a single day along the LoC. Pakistani shelling along the Line of Control killed 8 people including two children and 6 women and injured 24 on Tuesday.
Pakistani troops targeted the civilian areas and forward posts along the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control in Jammu division.
In retaliation, the Border Security Force (BSF) demolished 14 Pakistani posts on the IB, opposite the Ramgarh and Arnia sectors in the Jammu sector. The BSF also killed 2 Pakistani rangers.
Inspector General of BSF, Jammu Frontier, DK Upadhayay alleged, “They (Pakistan Rangers) are targeting civilians. What does that mean? Obviously, they are frustrated. We are retaliating beyond their expectations. We are responding in those sectors where they fire on us”.
Pakistani shelling started 6:30 am on Tuesday and the shelling hit the worst in the Ramgarh sector in the Samba district. Pakistani troops used 82 mm and 120 mm mortals to attack the villages and killed 6 civilians in Ramgarh sector and two in Rajouri sector.
The victims identified as 5-year-old Abhi, 7-year-old Rishap, 29-year-old Anju Devi, 60-year-old Meeru Ram of Rangoor village, 19-year-old Ravinder Kour of Jerda village and 32-year-old Swaran Singh of Govindgarh. In Rajouri sector two women Maqbool Begum and Sultan Begum died in Panjgrian border hamlet in Manjakote belt.
This created panic along the border area in Jammu, the government ordered to close schools. Divisional Commissioner of Jammu, Pawan Kotwal said that around 350 schools will remain closed. Jammu Deputy Commissioner Sheetal Nanda said that around 45 border schools were closed in the Samba sector. According to Poonch Deputy Commissioner Haroon Malik, 84 border schools were closed in the Balakot zone.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed her grief over the loss of civilian lives. She averred, “I am deeply pained over the fresh spate of civilian killings, including children and women, in border shelling and urge the political leadership in New Delhi and Islamabad to take effective and urgent measures to de-escalate the situation and bring an end to the miseries of the hapless people of Jammu and Kashmir who are caught in the deadly crossfire.”
She added that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been suffering badly because of the violence and enmity and the people know about the dangerous consequence. Mufti said that she is now realizing the perilous consequence of this, so there is an urgent need of communication between India and Pakistan.
Cross-border trade affected
This tormented situation affected the cross-border trade as the authorities suspending it due to the intense shelling.
Since 2008, the trade between two countries in the Kashmir region remain unaffected, but the growing tension between India and Pakistan put a question on the future expectation of the cross-border trade.
The General Secretary of Salamabad Traders Union, Hilal Ahmad Turki said, “The reasons are unknown but we hope to start the trade again, very soon.”