SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Firing between Indian and Pakistani soldiers along the highly militarized frontier in the disputed region of Kashmir has left three members of an Indian family dead and two Pakistani civilians wounded, officials from both sides said Saturday.
A 50-year-old Indian woman, her husband and their teenage son were hit by a shell in their home as the family was cooking late Friday night in southern Poonch district in India-administered Kashmir, said Rahul Yadav, an Indian administrator. He said the the three died on the spot.
Indian army spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand said Pakistani troops attacked Indian positions along the Line of Control dividing Kashmir between the two countries late Friday.
Anand called it an “unprovoked violation” of a 2003 cease-fire accord between the archrivals and said Indian troops “retaliated befittingly,” giving a usual description almost after every such fighting along the volatile de facto border.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that two Pakistani women were wounded in firing in Pakistani-administered Kashmir on Friday.
Like in the past, both summoned other’s senior diplomats in their capitals to register their anger and protest.
Pakistan summoned an Indian diplomat to “lodge strong protest” over the cease-fire violations “by the Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control,” the statement said. It said Indian forces “have been continuously targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars and automatic weapons.”
India’s foreign ministry in a statement condemned “in the strongest terms, the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by Pakistan forces” and summoned a senior Pakistani diplomat to register New Delhi’s protest.
India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over Kashmir, which both claim in its entirety. They have fought two of their three wars since 1947 over their competing claims to the region.
In the past, each side has accused the other of starting border skirmishes in Kashmir, which is divided between the two countries but claimed by both in its entirety.
There has been almost daily fighting between Indian and Pakistani soldiers over the last several months along the rugged and mountainous frontier, leaving dozens of civilians and soldiers dead on both sides.
India says Pakistan so far this year has committed more than 2,700 cease-fire violations. Pakistan says India has violated the cease-fire about 1,700 times this year.