Kashmir border violence kills two in India

 13 May 2017 - 11:05

Kashmir border violence kills two in India

AFP

New Delhi: Heavy shelling killed two people, including a teenager, in Indian-administered Kashmir on Saturday, an official said, in the latest deadly skirmish along the heavily militarised de-facto border with Pakistan.

The victims, a 13-year-old girl and a 51-year-old man, were killed when mortar bombs hit parts of Rajouri district on the Indian side of the official border known as the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

"Two people have been killed by mortar shells," Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, deputy commissioner of Rajouri, told AFP, adding three others were injured.

Defence spokesman, Manish Mehta, blamed Pakistan's army for initiating "indiscriminate firing" from 07:15 am (local time) Saturday.

"The Indian Army posts are retaliating strongly and effectively. The firing is presently on," Mehta said in a statement. 

Scores of families have reportedly migrated to safer places from five villages near the LoC, while authorities have called for an indefinite shutdown of all schools in three Rajouri towns. 

The latest incident comes only days after two people were killed in cross-border firing in Kashmir, one on each side of India and Pakistan.

The killings come amid an upsurge in violence in the disputed Himalayan region, where rebels opposed to Indian rule have repeatedly attacked government forces and banks in recent weeks. 

On Wednesday suspected rebels abducted and killed a military officer who was home on leave for a wedding in Shopian district in the volatile south of the disputed Himalayan region.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

Tensions reached dangerous levels again last September, with both sides blaming one another for cross-border raids.

There have since been repeated outbreaks of firing across the LoC, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.