Three killed, 10 injured in Pakistan firing in Kashmir

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Jammu/Srinagar: Two soldiers and a woman were killed and 10 injured on Saturday in two separate incidents of Pakistan shelling and firing across the international border and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said India wants good relations with Pakistan and wondered why the neighbouring country resorts to repeated ceasefire violations.

The woman was killed and eight other civilians were injured Saturday in Pakistani shelling along the international border in Samba and Kathua districts, police said.

The woman identified as 45-year-old Toshi Devi, wife of Somnath and a resident of Mangu Chak village in Samba, was injured in the shelling and succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Jammu. The eight injured civilians were being treated in the same hospital, a police officer told IANS.

The shelling forced scores of villagers to migrate to safer places. Reports from the border villages of Manyari, Paansar, Bobia, Londi, Sadechak, Chailari, Chachwal, Mangu Chak, Regaal, Mawa, Sadho and Chak Fakira said dozens of families left their homes because of the shelling.

Police also said Pakistan Rangers had fired at Border Security Force outposts around 9.30 p.m. Friday and the BSF retaliated. The firing exchange that stopped at 3.30 a.m. Saturday resumed in Hiranagar, Ramgarh and Samba sectors of the international border, police said.

In another incident of Pakistan firing on the LoC in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district, police said rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) fired at an Indian army post triggered a blaze in which two soldiers of Gorkha Rifles were killed and two others were injured.

The injured soldiers have been shifted for treatment to army hospital.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party activists carried out a protest march in Jammu against the Pakistani shelling.

Responding to a media query on the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan, Rajnath Singh said: “Pakistan is our neighbour and we want good relations with all our neighbours.”

“But the Pakistan government should also take initiative so that ceasefire violations do not take place,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi shook hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif during his oath-taking ceremony in May last year and conveyed that “we not only want to shake hands, but also want deeper ties”.

“Despite that, why does Pakistan always violate the ceasefire,” he asked.

BJP president Amit Shah meanwhile said India has been giving a “befitting reply” to Pakistan since the National Democratic Alliance government has come to power.

“After BJP formed the government, Indian forces have been giving fitting reply whenever there have been ceasefire violations and will continue to do so in future,” Shah told reporters in Bengaluru.

Outgoing Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Pakistan plan to enter via sea route busted and now they are trying via Samba and Hiranagar.” He was referring to the boat that blew up after its crew set fire to it after the Coast Guard intercepted it off Gujarat in the intervening night of Dec 31-Jan 1.

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