India today summoned the Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit following the death of six civilians in the ongoing ceasefire violation in Jammu and Kashmir's Balakote.Eleven villages in Jammu and Kashmir's Balakote are being pounded by Pakistani mortar shells and guns for over 24 hours now.
The toll - nine dead and 10 injured, all of them local villagers. Among the dead was a 12-year-old boy and a 40-year-old woman. The Indian forces have been retaliating.
Firing and shelling by Pakistani troops - which started on Saturday afternoon -- have continued through the night. Heavy firing had started around midnight and continued till 3 am. Since morning, the Rangers have been using guns. Yesterday, two other areas in Poonch district had been targeted as well.
Three villages -- Shahpur, Mandhar and Kerni -- bore the brunt of it, but the administration has asked people of all border villages to stay indoors.
"There was very heavy shelling from Pakistan - one shell hit a vehicle in which seven people were travelling. Our sarpanch (headman) was in the same vehicle and he was killed on the spot," said Rasheed Ahmad, one of the injured from Balakote village.
Jammu and Kashmir's Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, who visited the injured at the hospital in Jammu today, said, "Civilians getting killed is unacceptable. The firing should stop, otherwise the (Pakistan) will face the consequences."
But Pakistan's envoy, Mr Basit, who met the Indian authorities in the afternoon, claimed it was India which had violated ceasefire 70 times. "We are also concerned about the ceasefire violation and who is indulging in it," Mr Basit said.
The ceasefire violations began in Poonch and Rajouri sectors yesterday even as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sent his greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day and called for amicable relations between the two countries.