One boy killed, five other civilians injured in cross-border exchange
A 10-year-old boy was killed early Monday in an exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops in disputed Kashmir, Indian authorities said.
Five more civilians were wounded on the Indian side of the heavily militarized Line of Control (LoC) that divides the restive Himalayan region.
“Due to firing, one Asrar Ahmed, age 10 years… died on [the] spot,” a police statement said. An army spokesman said Indian soldiers were retaliating after what he called “unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics and mortars” from the Pakistan side in the Poonch sector of the LoC.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947, and both claim the territory in full. The neighboring nations regularly exchange mortar fire across the border despite signing a ceasefire in 2003.
Tensions reached dangerous levels last September, with both sides blaming one another for cross-border raids. There have since been repeated outbreaks of firing across the frontier, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including to civilians.
Pakistan said over the weekend that two civilians had been killed in firing across the LoC. Last month it said a five-year-old girl had been killed when she was hit by a bullet fired from the Indian side.
New Delhi claims Pakistan initiates cross border firing to help anti-India rebels cross into India-administered Kashmir to launch attacks on its forces. Islamabad denies the allegation and says it only provides diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for right to self-determination.