Pakistan: Indian Fire, Shelling Kills 11 in Kashmir
Pakistani officials said on Wednesday the death toll from shelling by India of a passenger bus and villages along the dividing line in the disputed region of Kashmir had risen to 11.
Waheed Khan, a local official, said an artillery shell hit the bus in the Neelum Valley on Wednesday, killing nine people.
Police official Waseem Khan said another two died when a mortar shell hit their house in the Nakyal sector of the Pakistani-held part of Kashmir.
An Indian Army spokesperson, Col Nitin Joshi, said India was responding to Pakistan's violation of a cease-fire.
Pakistan opened fire at several Indian posts in Jammu and Kashmir early on Wednesday, a day after its troops killed three Indian soldiers, mutilating one of the bodies, in Macchil sector.
Sources said the Indian Army hit back, firing mortar shells at Pakistani posts from Poonch, Rajouri, Kel and Macchil sectors in another round of heavy exchange of fire between the two sides.
The firing began around 9 a.m. when Pakistan targeted Indian posts in Balakot, Bhimber Gali, Krishna Ghati and Naushera sectors along the line of control [LoC]. The firing was on when the reports last came in.
The bodies of the three soldiers who were killed in Macchil along LoC, the de facto border, had been brought to Srinagar, television channels reported on Wednesday morning.
The army had reacted angrily to the killings. "Body of one soldier mutilated, retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act," it tweeted on Tuesday.
India also lodged a protest with Pakistan when the foreign office in Islamabad summoned deputy high commissioner JP Singh on Tuesday to condemn "unprovoked ceasefire violations".
Singh told director general [South Asia and Saarc] Mohammad Faisal that Pakistani troops were deliberately targeting civilian areas, resulting in heavy casualties.
The soldier whose body was mutilated has been identified as 25-year-old Prabhu Singh of Rajasthan. The other two were natives of Uttar Pradesh - 31-year-old K Kushwah and Shashank K Singh, 25.
There was no immediate comment from Pakistan, which last week accused India of killing seven of its soldiers in cross-border fire in Kashmir.
Relations between Pakistan and India had been strained for several months, while cross-frontier shelling has intensified leading to deaths of civilians and soldiers stationed along the disputed frontier.
Kashmir lies at the heart of the tension. The countries had fought two of their three wars over the region since partition and independence from Britain in 1947.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team