A resident of Pakistan-administered Kashmir walks past a shrapnel-marked wall. Sajjad Qayyum—AFP
Indian police claim one border security guard and a six-year-old boy also killed in firing.
Two children and another civilian were killed along with a soldier in firing across the border between India and Pakistan, officials from both sides said on Monday, as tensions soar between the neighboring rivals.
Pakistan’s military said an 18-month-old girl and another civilian were killed on its side of the border in “unprovoked firing” by the Indian army. “Due to Indian unprovoked firing last night a civilian, Muhammad Latif of village Janglora, and a minor Haniya, age one and a half, embraced shahadat while seven civilians were injured,” a military statement said.
The firing took place across the border between India-administered Kashmir and Pakistan’s Punjab province in the villages of Harpal, Pukhlian and Charwah, the statement said.
Indian police said the late night heavy exchange of firing occurred in its RS Pura sector, killing an Indian border security guard and a six-year-old boy. The Border Security Force (BSF) soldier died after he received splinters from a mortar shell fired by Pakistan Rangers, said Danish Rana, inspector general of police for the area. “The boy and the BSF soldier died during the intense exchange of small arms fire and mortars throughout the night along the border,” Rana said.
Six other civilians were also injured during the exchange, said another Indian police officer speaking on condition of anonymity.
Relations between the two countries have plummeted in recent months, with India blaming Pakistani militants for a raid on an army base in its part of disputed Kashmir in September that killed 19 soldiers. India later said it launched “surgical strikes” across the border in Pakistan on militant targets, prompting fury from Pakistan, which denied the raids took place.
Indian and Pakistani troops regularly exchange fire across their de-facto border in Kashmir, but rarely send ground troops over the line.
The overnight incident comes days after Indian border security forces said they shot dead seven Pakistani soldiers in retaliation for a ceasefire violation, with Pakistan refuting the claims.