Jammu: In the most intense firing along the International Border so far, Pakistani troops targeted 22 Border Security Force (BSF) posts and several villages in Jammu and Kashmir last night, killing at least two civilians and injuring five others.
The deceased - an eight-year-old child and his father - and four of those injured are members of the same family. Their house was shelled during the firing.
One jawan was injured in the firing that went on through the night till this morning.
Pakistani troops reportedly targeted the BSF posts and villages in the Arnia and RS Pura sectors around midnight using long range mortar shells and heavy to medium machine guns.
BSF Inspector General Rakesh Kumar told NDTV that the unprovoked firing prompted India to retaliate. "The firing started around midnight. 22 posts and several civilian villages were targeted so we retaliated in equal measure. Several houses have been damaged. Firing is still on in some areas," he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistani defence sources today claimed that a woman and a 60-year-old man were killed in firing by Indian troops near Sialkot, reports the Press trust of India
In the past two weeks, incidents of ceasefire violation have been reported almost every day - over 70 since the Narendra Modi government took charge in May.
Border hostilities have directly impacted the peace process. India this week suspended talks with Pakistan over its envoy's meetings with Kashmiri separatists and the spike in ceasefire violations. (India Calls Off Talks With Pakistan Over Its Envoy Meeting Kashmiri Separatists )
The spurt in firing from Pakistan forces villagers near the border to remain holed up in their houses. Many opt to take shelter in abandoned bunkers which haven't been used for nearly 10 years. (For a Good Night's Rest, They Huddle In Bunkers: Life At the LoC)
"Over the last few days, there has practically been no ceasefire. We have to remain holed up inside our houses or bunkers. No one helps us," said a villager.
"We feel very unsafe in our village," added another.
After the ceasefire of 2003 between both countries, many border residents had returned home. But the near-daily incidents of firing have left them worried now.