LOC Flare-up : 5 Soldiers, 4 Civilians killed in north Kashmir

Date:

Dozens injured

Apni Party, NC, Peoples Conference  grieved over loss of life due to Cross border shelling

Suhail Khan

Uri : Nine persons including four civilians, five soldiers among one officer were killed in North Kashmir after the armies of India and Pakistan exchanged massive shelling along the line of control in Uri, Gurez and Handwara.

Sources told Kashmir Despatch that four army soldiers, a BSF officer and four civilians lost their lives in a cross border shelling in parts of north Kashmir.

Official sources told this newspaper that In Uri two armymen and four civilians including a lady were killed during the heavy exchange of fire in Uri area of Baramulllah district while five civilians were also injured.

The killed civilians have been identified as Afrar Ahmad (7) son of Latief Ahmad of Gohallan Uri, Irshad Ahmad (48) son of Karamat Hussain of Sarai Baday, Tahir Ahmad Mir (36) son of Jaleel Ahmad Mir of Sultan Daki and Farooqa Begum (36) wife of Bashir Ahmad of Balakote. Two army men were also killed and were identified as GNR Sudoch Goush (23) and Hawaldar Hardaran Chandra (40) from 59 MED regiment and were posted Rustam Post.

The injured have been identified as Sajad Khan (62)son of Mohammad Aslam khan of Balkote Uri, Saif-u-d-din Qureshi(63) son of Fiqur Ullaha Qureshi of Kamalkote Uri,  Hakim Bee (50) wife of Abdul Hamid of Gohallan Uri and Sarfraz Ahmad (18) son of Lateif Ahmad of Gohallan and Uri shifted to SDH Uri they added.

Reports from north Kashmir’s Kupwara district reaching this newspaper said a Border Security Force Sub Inspector was killed while a jawan was injured in Nowgam Sector of Kupwara. An official confirmed the death of the Sub Inspector and identified him as Rakesh Dhobal of Uttrakhand.

The injured was identified as constable Vasu Raja,who sustained splinter injuries on his arms and cheeks. He was deployed at the same forward location.

Reports from Gurez said that Pakistan resorted to massive firing and heavy mortar shelling in Tulail and Bagtore Sectors in which two army soldiers were killed while as many as including three soldiers received injures following which they were evacuated to Hospital.

The officials said that the slain soldiers have been identified as Naik Satai Bhusha and sepoy Jon Dhale Rushikesh, both residents of Maharashtra. The injured have been identified as Naik Kale Navnath, Sepoy Khade Uddhav and Sepoy Kirte Yogesh, all residents of Maharashtra.

Sources said that many persons were injured at Dasi Bagtoore in Gurez who were identified as Rehana Khursheed (14), Daughter of khursheed Ahamd Ganie, Munaza Jamsheed (12),  Daughter of Jamsheed Ahamad, Jabar Ahamad Ganie (72), Son of Laasi Ganie and Saja Bagum (62) all the resident of Bagtore Gurez.

In Poonch sector five civilians including a middle aged woman and two porters were injured in border shelling and firing by Pakistan army along sawjian sector.

They have been identified as Hajra Begum (50) wife of Abdul Salam, Touseef Ahmad  and Mohammad Rashad son of mehraj Din, residents of Sawjian Maidan while two porters of 183 BN BSF include Mohammad Afaraz son of Zaman Kahan and Mohammad Ibrahim son of Brahamdin Khan, both residents of Saujian Chaprian.

Meanwhile, Srinagar based Defense Spokesperson Colonel Rajest Kalia in a statement issued to Kashmir Despatch said that three soldiers were killed and as many others were injured in “unprovoked ceasefire violations” along the LoC spread across multiple sectors including Dawar, Keran, Uri and Naugam in north Kashmir.

  “Substantial damage” was caused to Pakistan Army’s infrastructure besides causalities across the LoC in retaliatory action. Several ammunition dumps, FOL dumps and multiple (militant) launch pads have been damaged,” he said in the statement.

 The statement further read that: “Pakistan initiated unprovoked Ceasefire Violation along the LoC spread across multiple sectors to include Dawar, Keran, Uri & Naugam. Pakistan used Mortars & other weapons. Pakistan deliberately targeted civilian areas,” he said. Three Indian Army soldiers have been killed in action and three soldiers were injured, he said.

 “The Nation salutes their supreme sacrifice,” he said, adding, “Own troops retaliated strongly causing substantial damage to Pakistan Army’s infrastructure and casualities across the LoC. Several ammunition dumps, FOL dumps and multiple (militants) launch pads have been damaged.”

In Pakistan, authorities said the exchange of fire between Pakistani and Indian forces started Thursday and continued overnight in Kashmir.

In a statement, Pakistan’s military blamed India for initiating the clash by firing rockets and mortar shells that killed one Pakistani civilian and wounded three others.

In a statement issued to Kashmir Despatch here, Apni Party senior vice president Ghulam Hassan Mir  said that thousands of families who live in border areas are in a pitiable condition because of the continuous ceasefire violations.

“The loss of around six precious lives including four civilians and three army men in cross border shelling in Uri, Dawar, Keran and Nowgam areas is highly condemnable. The heavy shelling has caused panic in the villages of Balkote and other border areas in Kashmir valley,” Mir remarked.

He said that this situation is not in the interests of people. Mir appealed to the leadership of the country to ensure that the people of the border areas of J&K live in peace and tranquility.

“The ceasefire violations, whatever the causes, risk the prosperity and security of both the countries that have far more commonalities than the areas of suspicion and discard,” Mir opined.

He said that the incidents of skirmishes and hostilities from across the border derail the efforts leading towards the formation of better understanding and amity between the two neighbouring countries which directly impacts the lives of people in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mir reiterated his Party’s demand for speedy construction of concrete bunkers for the inhabitants of forward areas across Jammu and Kashmir. “The government of India needs to focus on the completion of bunkers in order to ensure the safety and security of its citizens living in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

  Offering condolence on behalf of Apni Party, Mir expressed solidarity with the bereaved families of soldiers and innocent civilians killed due to shelling and wished early recovery of those who sustained injuries due to cross border shelling.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Friday condemned the casualties along LoC today following heavy mortar shelling and called for an immediate end to such skirmishes on LOC.

 While expressing grief and sorrow over the unfortunate killings on LoC Party’s senior leaders Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Nazir Gurezi, Sajjad Uri, Qaiser Jamsheeed Lone, Qafilul Rehman said that whenever borders are lit up and tensions soar between the two countries it is the people living along LoC, borders who bear the brunt.

In a joint statement they said, “It is the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially those living on both sides of the LOC or international border who have to face the brunt of skirmishes between the two countries. It’s really saddening to witness innocent lives being devoured like this. We express solidarity with the bereaved families of civilians and soldiers and call upon both countries to immediately stop cross border shelling. The persistent lighting up of borders has made the lives of people no less than a hell.”

The leaders sought immediate cessation of skirmishes on borders. “People living along borders are fighting a battle of life and death. We therefore call for immediate cessation of shelling on the borders. We also urge the government to provide effective health care to the injured,” they said.

Meanwhile, Senior Peoples conference leader Raja Aijaz Ali today condemned shelling on civilian areas along the Line of Control and expressed deep grief and anguish over targeting of civilians which has resulted in loss of innocent lives.

While terming the flare-up on the LoC as highly unfortunate and deplorable, Raja Aijaz in a statement to Kashmir Despatch said that targeting old women and children is not only uncivilized but also inhumane and barbaric.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and injured. We pray for peace to the departed souls and swift recovery of the injured. We urge the LG administration to provide adequate compensation to the families of the victims and urgent medical attention to the injured.

He has also urged the administration to immediately sanction funds for construction of bunkers for residents living across the LoC in Uri, Poonch and Gurez.

“Amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, the people living along the LoC suffer the most. It is the government’s responsibility to provide safe shelter to residents living in the border areas during cross-shelling incidents.”

The residents along the LoC are living in constant fear. They have no option but to run for safe shelter. People have suffered injuries and loss of property amid intense firing and motor shelling. The LG administration must ensure availability of sufficient funds to district administration for construction of additional bunkers across the LoC”, he added.

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