A soldier was martyed in firing by Pakistani army across Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir on Thursday, officials said.
They said that Indian and Pakistani armies exchanged fire in Uri (Baramulla district) and Machil (Kupwara district) sectors also prompting the authorities to suspend trade between two parts of Kashmir divided by the LoC.
“Cease Fire Violation (CFV) by Pakistan in Machil Sector of Kupwara district at around 1045 hours today. Own troops retaliated strongly. One soldier martyred in enemy fire,” said Srinagar-based army spokesman, Col Rajesh Kalia.
Officials said Pakistani army also violated the ceasefire agreement in Uri sub-division’s Kamalkote area in Baramulla district on Wednesday and Thursday prompting a response from the Indian army.
“There was exchange of fire on Wednesday, then it happened again during the night and in the morning on Thursday,” said sub divisional magistrate (SDM), Uri, Baseer-ul-Haq.
The officials said that the two armies exchanged small arms fire amid a few instances of shelling as well. Army has not yet officially commented on the Uri exchange despite requests for the same.
Haq said that two soldiers were hospitalized after sustaining injuries on Wednesday while a family was evacuated from a house that was slightly damaged due to shelling on Thursday.
“There was shelling on Kamalkote border post during the night. An empty shed was damaged in the shelling while as the window panes of a residential house were also damaged. The family living in the house has been shifted,” Haq said.
Neighbours India and Pakistan, who have fought at-least three wars since 1947, had agreed in 2003 to maintain peace along the border, but violations intensified after bilateral relations plummeted in 2016. The two countries often accuse each other of violations.
The movement of trucks part of cross-LoC barter trade between the divided parts of Kashmir through Kaman Post was also suspended on Thursday owing to the exchange of fire.
“Kamalkote border post is adjacent to Kaman Post, so the deputy commissioner decided to suspend the trade for the day. It may resume on Friday,” said Haq.
The spike in ceasefire violations have killed dozens and often force thousands of people living along the border to flee their villages. The border exchange of fire also affects the Cross-LoC trade which was started in 2008 after the leadership of India and Pakistan agreed for confidence building measures to ease out relations between the two countries often at odds over Kashmir region.
In the year 2017, India accused Pakistan of violating the ceasefire 882 times along the Line of Control (LoC) and the international border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, killing 31 people. Pakistan on the other hand has accused Indian troops of violating the ceasefire 1300 times leading to killing of its 51 nationals including troops.