This Article is From Aug 15, 2015

5 Killed, 9 Injured in Pakistani Firing on Independence Day in Poonch

The offensive came on the occasion of India's Independence Day.

Jammu: Five civilians died and nine were injured as Pakistani soldiers engaged in intense shelling from across the border, violating ceasefire thrice in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector today. Heavy firing by Pakistani troops continues in the area.

The shelling comes 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.

The shelling in Balakote sector started in the afternoon, in which five people, including a 12-year-old child and the village headman, were killed and six others were injured. They were airlifted to Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Poonch Nisar Ahamd Wani told NDTV.

In Sabjian sector, three people were injured in the firing in two spots that took place in the morning. This sector has witnessed the worst shelling over the last week and more than a dozen families have been forced to migrate from the area.

"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," one of the injured from Balakote village said.

For last one week, there has been an escalation of tension along Line of Control in Poonch. There have been 28 violations of the 2003 ceasefire in August.

In a departure from tradition, Indian and Pakistani troops did not exchange sweets along the Attari border yesterday -- when Pakistan had its Independence Day -- or today.

There have been 32 violations of the 2003 ceasefire agreement in August and this is the seventh consecutive day that Pakistani troops have shelled Indian posts along the Line of Control in the Jammu region.

Pakistan violated the ceasefire 192 times along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir till July 26, the government had told the Lok Sabha this week.