13 civilians killed in Pakistan, India cross-border shelling

JAMMU, India, Thirteen civilians — seven in India and six in Pakistan — were killed in cross-border shelling from both sides of the Line of Control in the disputed region of Kashmir, military officials said.

Medics carry a victim who was injured in cross-border firing to the government Medical College hospital in Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, on Tuesday. Multiple villagers were killed and several others injured in alleged heavy firing by Pakistan Rangers on Indian Border Security Force posts near the international border in the R.S. Pura, Samba and Rajouri sector in Jammu district. Photo by Jaipal Singh/EPA

Indian authorities said two of the fatalities were children — ages 5 and 7 — and 22 were injured in the mortar bombs on their side since Monday. In Pakistan, eight were reported injured Tuesday.

India’s Border Security Force said it destroyed 14 Pakistani posts in return fire.

Pakistan’s Director General Mohammad Faisal on Tuesday condemned the “unprovoked cease-fire violations” to India’s Deputy High Chief Commissioner J.P. Singh and responded with shelling. But Singh noted Pakistan’s violations of the 2003 accord, saying Pakistani rangers were giving cover to infiltrators.

This was the fifth time in just over a week that Indian diplomats were summoned to Pakistan’s Foreign Office.

Tensions are heightened in the Muslim-majority region that has been disputed territory between the two nations for the past 70 years, including wars in 1947 and 1965.

The Indian government has ordered 174 schools along the border in Jammu to shut down in wake of the shelling.

Last month, terrorists from Pakistan targeted an army post, killing 19 soldiers.

By Allen Cone