Pakistan violates ceasefire, two Kashmiri civilians killed

Srinagar/New Delhi, June 20 (Calcutta Tube) Two civilian porters were killed and two Indian soldiers injured Sunday in unprovoked firing by Pakistani troopers near Jammu and Kashmir’s Machil border sector, violating the seven-year-old ceasefire, officials said.

‘There was firing from the Pakistani side between 7 and 8 in the morning. Two porters were killed,’ an official in the Army Headquarters said in New Delhi.

The official said the two porters had gone to fetch water from a riverside when they were spotted by Pakistani troopers from across the Line of Control (LoC) – the de facto border that divides Jammu and Kashmir between the two bitter neighbours.

‘They shot them dead. It was a clear violation of the ceasefire,’ the official said.

Indian Army soldiers retaliated and fired at the Pakistani troopers, he said, adding that two ‘of our soldiers were injured’.

‘We don’t know about the casualties or injuries on the Pakistani side,’ he said.

The firing incident on the LoC in north Kashmir’s Machil sector, some 140 km from Srinagar, comes days ahead of Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s visit to Islamabad June 26 for a SAARC home minister’s conference.

Sunday’s was the second violation in a week of a ceasefire agreement on LoC that India and Pakistan signed in November 2003.

India has expressed anguish over increasing infiltration attempts by militants from across the border with Pakistan. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of supporting an armed separatist campaign raging since 1989.

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