Pakistani officials say the death toll from shelling by India of a passenger bus and villages along the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir has risen to 11. Waheed Khan, a local official, says an artillery shell hit the bus in the Neelum Valley on Wednesday, killing nine people. Police official Waseem Khan says another two died when a mortar shell hit their house in the Nakyal sector of the Pakistani-held part of Kashmir. Pakistani army says troops are firing back on Indian military positions. Pakistan’s military media wing, ISPR, said in a statement that seven people were killed and seven wounded. Lawat is 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani occupied Kashmir, in the upper belt of Neelum Valley.
An Indian army spokesman, Colonel Nitin Joshi, says India was responding to Pakistan’s violation of a cease-fire after it initiated “indiscriminate” firing on Wednesday morning on Indian Army posts in Bhimber Gali, Krishna Ghati and Nawshera sectors. Tensions in Kashmir have escalated recently with deadly exchanges. Relations between Pakistan and India have been strained for several months, while cross-frontier shelling has intensified leading to deaths of civilians and soldiers stationed along the Line of Control.
A day after three Indian soldiers were killed, with body of one of them being mutilated in a cross-LoC attack, the Army today launched a counter offensive against Pakistan along the LoC. Indian army has vowed retribution against the “cowardly act by Pakistan army”. Brigadier, Northern Command, S Gotra said India Army launched a counter offensive along the LoC in retaliation to yesterday’s offensive in Machhil sector of Kashmir. Indian Army posts are responding strongly and giving a befitting reply, Defence PRO Manish Mehta said.
Condemning Pakistan for mutilating the body of an army soldier, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said India will not take this incident lying down and would give a befitting lifetime response to its neighbour. “The Machil incident has saddened the entire nation. The fact that one of the soldier’s body has been mutilated is a testimony to the fact that Pakistan continues its dastardly acts, but India is not going to take this lying down. The Modi government will give befitting reply and an answer that they will remember for a lifetime,” BJP member Shaina NC told ANI.