New Delhi: The restive Line of Control (LoC) dividing India and Pakistan was once again lit up on Wednesday morning with India launching massive retaliatory fire, a day after Pakistani border action teams (BAT) killed three Indian soldiers and mutilated the body of one of them.
Several sectors in the LoC are witnessing artillery gun fire and mortar shelling with the Neelam Valley, Kel and Keran taking the brunt. A latest Pakistani media report said at least 10 people were dead and another 14 wounded in two separate incidents in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
One of the reports said that 9 people including minors were killed in Athmuqam in Neelam Valley when a rocket hit a passenger bus.
“Indian troops hit a passenger coaster with small and big arms in the town of Lawat, killing nine passengers and injuring eleven others,” Dawn quoted Jamil Mir, superintendent of police (SP) in Neelum Valley, as saying.
Lawat is located 90 km north east of Islamabad in the upper belt of valley that straddles the restive Line of Control (LoC). The coaster was on its way to Muzaffarabad.
“Four bodies and all 11 injured persons have arrived in District Headquarters Hospital Athmuqam, but five bodies are still in the coaster,” SP Mir said.
He said shelling in Neelum valley had begun at about 3:00am, but intensified in the morning. Officials from other areas had similar stories, Dawn said.
“Shelling in my area has started at about 8:40 am, and it has been indiscriminate,” Dawn quoted Sardar Zeeshan Nisar, assistant commissioner of Nakyal, in the southern Kotli district.
“So far, four injured persons have been brought to a health facility, but I am afraid there may be more casualties, as shelling is ongoing,” Nisar said. He later said that one of the wounded had succumbed to their injuries.
Tatta Pani sector of district Kotli was also receiving shells, but so far there was no report of casualties there, according to Dawn.
Locals in Battal, Madarpur sectors of district Poonch said their areas were also hit by heavy shelling. “There were unconfirmed reports about some people having been injured, but we are awaiting confirmation,” a police official told Dawn from Madarpur.
Military sources said that Pakistan army was serving “knee-jerk” response to Indian shelling.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement confirmed that Pakistani and Indian troops had exchanged fire across the LoC on Wednesday.
“Indian troops targeted a civilian bus near the LoC in Neelum Valley,” the ISPR said, adding that four people were killed and seven injured when the bus was near Dhudnial.