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India Accuses Pakistan of Killing 2 Civilians in Cross Border Kashmir Shooting | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Indian soldier is seen near the Line of Control in Uri, Kashmir on September 18, 2016. (AFP)

A father and daughter were killed on Saturday after Pakistani troops fired across the de facto border in the Indian part of the disputed Kashmir region, an Indian military spokesman announced.

Three of their relatives were wounded when mortar bombs hit parts of Rajouri district on the Indian side of the official border known as the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Scores of families have reportedly migrated to safer places from five villages near the LoC, while authorities have called for an indefinite shutdown of all schools in three Rajouri towns.

The latest incident comes only days after two people were killed in cross-border firing in Kashmir, one on each side of India and Pakistan.

“Pakistani troops initiated indiscriminate firing,” said the Indian spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Manish Mehta, adding that Pakistani forces had fired with various weapons from small arms to large caliber mortars in the Nowshera sector.

A mortar bomb hit a home in a village near the LoC inflicting the casualties, he said.

Indian forces retaliated “strongly and effectively”, he said, adding the authorities had closed all schools in the area.

A Pakistani military spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Pakistan on Thursday condemned what it called “unprovoked” Indian firing in the area.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence in 1947, two of them over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Clashes between their forces in Kashmir largely stopped after a 2003 ceasefire, but tensions reached dangerous levels again last September, with both sides blaming one another for cross-border raids.

There have since been repeated outbreaks of firing across the LoC, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.

Occasional efforts to improve ties between the nuclear-armed neighbors through talks have achieved little, while protests against Indian rule in its part of Kashmir have flared violently over the past year.

India accuses Muslim Pakistan of supporting separatist insurgents fighting security forces in Indian Kashmir. Pakistan denies that.