Civilians killed as India and Pakistan resume conflict

Civilians killed as India and Pakistan resume conflict

Protesters in support of the Jama'at-e-Islami, a political group banned in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Soldiers from India and Pakistan have targeted each other along the volatile frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing at least six civilians and wounding four others, officials said.

Fighting resumed overnight, leaving two siblings and their mother dead in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The three died after a shell fired by Pakistani soldiers hit their home in Poonch region near the so-called Line of Control that divides the Himalayan territory of Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals, police said.

The children's father was critically wounded and has been hospitalised.



In Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, government official Umar Azam said Indian troops with heavy weapons "indiscriminately targeted border villagers" along the Line of Control, killing a boy and wounding three others.

He said several homes were destroyed by Indian shelling.

Protests have also been taking place in Indian-controlled Kashmir, with people shouting slogans against the banning of Jama'at-e-Islami, the largest political and religious group in the region. 

The group has been banned by India and there has been a crackdown against activists seeking the end of Indian rule in the disputed region.


Peace gesture

Tensions have been running high since an Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan on Tuesday, carrying out what India called a pre-emptive strike against militants blamed for a February 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops. 

Pakistan retaliated, shooting down a MiG-21 fighter jet on Wednesday and detained its pilot, who was returned to India on Friday in a peace gesture. 

Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence from British rule in 1947. 

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels and sending them into Indian-controlled Kashmir to launch attacks against government targets. 

Pakistan denies the charge, saying it provides moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris fighting for right to self-determination. 

Rebel groups have been fighting Indian rule since 1989 and demand that Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. 

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.