Five people, including four civilians and a BSF trooper, were killed and 10 others injured on Friday in Pakistani shelling and firing on the international border in Jammu district, officials said.
Police said the five, including Border Security Force constable Sitaram Upadhyay, were killed by the Pakistan Rangers in R.S. Pura, Arnia and Bishnah sectors.
The civilian dead included a 45-year-old woman and three males.
“Ten others, including an assistant sub-inspector of BSF, have been injured and they are being treated in hospital,” a police officer said.
He said that an evacuation of civilians from the affected areas was on because intermittent firing exchanges were going on between the Indian and Pakistani sides.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief over the killings at a time when the Indian government has announced a ceasefire in the state.
The Chief Minister tweeted: “Continued firing on the border in Jammu is cause of pain and worry. Sad that while our country took the lead in starting peace initiatives with cessation of operations during Ramzan, Pakistan has shown no respect whatsoever for this holy month.”
In another comment, she said: “Pakistan will have to reciprocate and contribute to efforts for lasting peace. Everyone must realise that violence is a zero sum game. My deepest condolences to families of the victims.”
Pakistani Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing and shelling on the international border in Jammu’s R.S. Pura, Bishnah and Arnia sectors beginning at 1 a.m. on Friday, sources in the BSF said.
“Constable Sitaram Upadhyay posted at the Jabowal border outpost was injured. He was being shifted to hospital but succumbed to his injuries en route,” a BSF officer said.
“An assistant sub-inspector also sustained splinter injuries in the Pakistani shelling on the Pittal border outpost,” the officer said.
The BSF retaliated strongly and effectively at all these places.
The police said bullet-proof vehicles were being used to evacuate civilians from areas close to the border.
The ceasefire violation by Pakistan continued for the third consecutive day on Friday. During the last two days, the Pakistan Rangers violated ceasefire in Kathua and Samba districts.
The escalation of tensions on the international border in the state comes a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts his two-day visit to the state on Saturday. (IANS)