By Ahmad Adil
CHANDIGARH, India (AA) – The Indian army on Thursday said that three soldiers were killed and at least four injured in Pakistan by fire at two places along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 24 hours.
Two different statements issued by the Indian army said that while two soldiers were killed in the Kupwara district in Kashmir on Thursday morning, one soldier was killed on Wednesday by Pakistan firing in the Jammu region across the LoC, a de facto border that divides the disputed Himalayan valley between the two nuclear rivals.
“On 30 Sep 2020, Pakistan Army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation on the line of control (LoC) in Krishna Ghati Sector, District Poonch (J&K). Own troops responded strongly to the enemy fire. In the incident, Lance Naik Karnail Singh was critically injured and later succumbed to his injuries,” Lt. Col Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesperson, said in a statement on Thursday.
In another statement Thursday, the Indian army said that two soldiers were killed in Pakistan firing along the LoC in the Kupwara district.
“Pakistan initiated an unprovoked Ceasefire Violation along LoC in Naugam Sector, Kupwara today morning by firing mortars & other weapons. Two soldiers fatal. Four soldiers injured, being evacuated. Befitting response is being given,” said defense spokesperson Col. Rajesh Kalia.
Pakistan’s army on Wednesday accused India of cease-fire violations across the border.
"Indian Army resorted to unprovoked cease fire violation using automatics and heavy mortars in Jandrot Sector along LoC deliberately targeting civilian population. A 65-year-old woman in Kathar Village got injured," said the media wing of the Pakistani military in a statement.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry also summoned a senior Indian diplomat in Islamabad and lodged a strong protest over the cease-fire violation.
"Indian occupation forces along the LoC and the Working Boundary have been constantly targeting civilian-populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars, and automatic weapons," the ministry said in a statement.
"This year, India has committed 2404 ceasefire violations to date, resulting in 19 shahadats [martyrs] and serious injuries to 192 innocent civilians," it added.
Tensions between the South Asian neighbors grew after New Delhi's unilateral decision in August 2019 to revoke the decades-long special status of the Muslim-majority disputed valley.
– Disputed region
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights groups, thousands have been killed in the conflict since 1989.
*Islamuddin Sajid contributed to this story from Islamabad, Pakistan.