A 9-year-old girl killed and a soldier were martyred in heavy Pakistan firing along the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, forcing India to warn the neighbouring country it reserved the right to hit back.
The intense shelling of Indian posts and villages in Rajouri and Poonch districts also left a soldier and woman battling for life as the director generals of military operations (DGMOs) of the two countries spoke over the phone.
The Indian Army reserved the right to retaliate as all ceasefire violations were initiated by Pakistan, Lt Gen AK Bhat told his Pakistani counterpart.
The two DGMOs usually speak on Tuesdays but this unscheduled conversation took place on the request of the Pakistani side in face of increased ceasefire violations, sources said.
Naik Muddasar Ahmed was grievously injured when mortar shells landed on his bunker in Bhimber Gali sector, the army said in a statement. He was taken to a hospital but couldn’t be saved.
The Bhimber Gali sector runs along Rajouri and Poonch districts.
The 37-year-old was from Tral in Pulwama in southern Kashmir and was with the 15 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKI).
“The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” the army said. Ahmed is survived by his wife and two children.
Another JAKI jawan, Naik Firdous, was severely injured, sources said.
Five-year-old Saida Kafeel Kouser was killed in Poonch’s Balakote while Shah Bi suffered shrapnel injuries in Rajouri.
The Pakistani side started firing indiscriminately at around 7.30am, targeting the Bhimber Gali sector, defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said, adding the Indian side was retaliating strongly.
The firing was so intense that the Rajouri administration closed all the schools near the de facto border.
This summer, there has been a heavy exchange of fire along the LoC that has left many soldiers and civilians dead on both sides.
On July 12, two Indian soldiers were killed in Kupwara sector.
The two countries had in November 2003 agreed to hold fire along the LoC but violations have intensified since 2016 as relations have nosedived.
Five Pakistani soldiers were killed when their vehicle fell into a river in the Neelum Valley after it was “targeted by the Indian Army”.
The vehicle carrying five soldiers fell into the Neelum river on Sunday, ISPR, the publicity wing of the Pakistani army, posted on its website. Body of one of the soldiers was found and a search was on for others, it said.