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‘Indian artillery fire kills Pakistani soldier, 2 civilians in Kashmir’

A Pakistani soldier patrols a village in Bhimber district, near the Line of Control (LoC) in the Pakistani-administered Kashmir, on October 1, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

A Pakistani army soldier and two civilians have been killed by Indian artillery fire across the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region.

Pakistan’s military said in a statement that the fatalities took place on Wednesday night when Indian troops initiated an “unprovoked ceasefire violation” in the villages of Kailer and Rakhchikri along the LoC, the de facto border between Pakistan and India in Kashmir.

Reports said Indian troops targeted Pakistan army posts in Kailer with automatic and heavy weapons; however, the Pakistani military responded and inflicted heavy losses on Indian forces.

The statement said a 10-year-old boy and a woman had also been wounded by the Indian fire.

Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesman, accused Pakistani troops of attacking Indian positions with small arms and mortar shells in at least four places Wednesday evening. Anand called the firing an “unprovoked” violation of a 2003 ceasefire accord between the two neighboring countries.

Despite the ceasefire agreement that was reached between India and Pakistan in November 2003, sporadic skirmishes continue in Kashmir.

India and Pakistan frequently exchange heavy fire across the militarized de facto border in the disputed Kashmir valley.

Kashmir has long been a flash point between India and Pakistan, which have fought three of their four wars over the disputed Himalayan territory. Both countries rule parts of Kashmir while claiming it in full.

Earlier this month, India introduced a new law that would make its citizens eligible to become permanent residents of the Indian-controlled Kashmir, raising fears of demographic change in the Himalayan region.

As part of the Indian government's discriminatory policies against Muslims last year, India’s parliament passed a new citizenship law under which migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan will be allowed to claim Indian citizenship — but not if they are Muslims.

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