Mirpur (AJK) - Fresh ceasefire violations by Indian troops from across the Line of Control (LoC) left two men dead and a woman and her teenage son wounded in Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) Chamb sector on Thursday.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Faisal said Indian troops Thursday targeted the villages of Thub and Banchiran on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control with mortars and other weapons. Army officials said Pakistani forces returned fire and it was unclear if there were any casualties on Indian side. There was no immediate comment from India.

“There has been heavy shelling in Chamb sector since 6 am and according to initial reports two civilians have been killed and two others injured,” said Chaudhry Guftar, deputy commissioner of Bhimber district.

Chamb sector is located in Barnala tehsil of Bhimber, the southernmost AJK district which runs along the heavily militarised LoC splitting the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

Guftar said that since the affected areas did not have cellular service, exact information about losses could be ascertained only after a physical visit once the firing came to an end.

Seemab Aslam, a Barnala-based revenue department employee, identified the deceased as Rafique, son of Sharif, and Wazir, son of Allah Rakha.

The injured were Jannat Bibi and her teenage son Mohammad Usman, he said.

AJK Minister for Planning and Development Waqar Ahmed Noor condemned “unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian Army, targeting unarmed civilian population”.

“The Indian government appears to be bent upon escalating tensions along the LoC to meet its domestic political needs,” he said, as he spoke to media from Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Barnala where Bibi was admitted. Her son Usman was shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Bhimber in a critical condition.

For quite some time, the LoC has been frequently witnessing ceasefire violations in a serious breach of the November 2003 truce agreement between the armies of Pakistan and India, causing mostly civilian casualties. Scores of civilians busy in domestic chores or daily work for wages have fallen victim to Indian snipers during the last few weeks.

According to State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), fresh casualties have raised the death toll caused by Indian shelling in the ongoing year to 20 whereas another 119 people have sustained injuries.

In 2017, 46 civilians were killed and another 262 wounded, while the number of the deceased and injured persons in 2016 was 41 and 142, respectively, the SDMA said.

TWO POLICEMEN HURT

IN GRENADE ATTACK

SRINAGAR (Xinhua): At least two Indian policemen and a civilian were wounded Thursday after suspected militants carried out a grenade attack in restive Indian-occupied Kashmir.

The hand grenade was hurled at police station in Kulgam district, about 71 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-held Kashmir.

“Militants this evening hurled a grenade towards police station Kulgam, which exploded with a bang resulting in wounding two policemen and a civilian,” a police officer posted in the town told Xinhua. “The wounded personnel were immediately rushed to hospital for treatment.”