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Woman killed, nine injured as Indian troops target civilian population along LoC: Pakistan

Srinagar: A woman was killed and nine others, including two police constables, were injured in Pakistan administered  Kashmir (PaK) on Monday as Indian troops resorted to “ruthless” mortar shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC), officials said, Dawn reported.

The target on the last day of 2018 was Athmuqam — the otherwise rarely hit district headquarters of the picturesque Neelum Valley — located some 80km northeast of here, it said.

“First they [Indians] fired some shells on Pakistan Army posts, but then suddenly they started pounding civilian properties with mortar shells,” Akhtar Ayub, an Athmuqam-based disaster risk management officer told Dawn.

Video clips shared by Athmuqam residents in WhatsApp groups showed people running to safety amid thunder of shelling and clouds of smoke.

Ayub said Indian troops targeted the entire one-kilometre radius of Athmuqam, overlooked by Indian gun positions atop lofty mountains across the unmarked dividing line.

Similar was the situation in all other educational institutions in the town, where students were trapped during the course of shelling, Ayub said.

He said many people took refuge in the building of a hospital because of the absence of bunkers along their houses.

The shelling stopped after an hour but left a 27-year-old woman dead and nine others wounded, Ayub said.

The deceased, identified as Asiya Bibi, was hit in the head by shrapnel from a mortar shell outside her house, he said. The mother of a toddler died on the spot.

The injured were identified as Sadaf Zia, 16, Misbah Jameel, 8, Kulsoom Shafqat, 18, Zarmeen Bibi, 20, Ansar Bibi, 35, and her son Khawaja Amir, 20, Rafaqat Khan, 35, and police constables Raja Zulqarnain, 36, and Malik Sajjad, 33. All of them were treated locally and were out of danger.

The last ceasefire violation in the valley was reported on October 30, when Indian troops had fired a few mortar shells.

He said 29 houses were damaged partially while three houses and a shop were destroyed due to shelling.

Apart from human losses, at least 13 cattle head had also perished in the violence.

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