Two minors were today killed and 12 civilians injured in cross-border shelling by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, 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 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 told PTI.
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 residents are 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.
The year 2017 has seen a sharp increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Until 1 August, there were 285 violations by Pakistani forces while in 2016, the number was significantly less at 228 for the entire year, according to Army figures. PTI
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!