Indian cross-border firing kills nine on Kashmir bus
AT least nine people were killed and seven others wounded in crossborder firing which hit a Pakistani bus in disputed Kashmir yesterday, officials said, in the latest deadly skirmish between India and Pakistan.
The incident came a day after India said three of its soldiers had been killed by Pakistani troops and threatened “retribution”, a claim that was angrily rejected by Pakistan.
Yesterday’s violence took place in Nagdar village in Pakistani-held Kashmir’s scenic Neelum Valley – a popular tourist spot.
Local administration official Sardar Waheed said firing was continuing, preventing ambulances from reaching the scene.
“Indian troops targetted a civil Bus near LoC [the Line of Control] in Neelam [sic] valley,” the military said in an emailed statement. In a separate statement it said that “intense firing” was ongoing.
“At least nine people have been killed and seven others wounded,” the Speaker of Pakistani Kashmir’s legislative assembly, Shah Ghulam Qadir, told a press conference in the city of Muzaffarabad.
On November 22 the Indian army accused Pakistan of sending soldiers across the LoC, the de facto border that divides Kashmir, and killing three of its soldiers, adding that one of the bodies had been “mutilated”.
But Pakistan angrily rejected the claim in a series of tweets from a foreign ministry spokesperson calling it “baseless” and a “fabrication”.
Tensions in the long-disputed Himalayan region reached dangerous levels in September, after India blamed Pakistani militants for a raid on an army base that killed 19 soldiers.
There have since been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.
Several rebel groups have for decades fought Indian soldiers for independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, on both sides of the line of control. –