J&K: Army jawan killed in heavy shelling by Pakistan along LoC

Pakistani troops initiated small arms fire in Mendhar and Balakote areas. (Express photo: Shuaib Masoodi/File)

A Junior Commissioned Officer was killed on Tuesday as Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms fire along the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K's Rajouri and Poonch districts. According to sources, the JCO -- whose identity was not immediately known -- was deployed at Nowshera sector’s Kalal area.

Also, the heavy shelling by the Pakistani troops for nearly an hour left students of nearly half a dozen schools stranded.

Sources added that Pakistani troops initiated small arms fire in Mendhar and Balakote areas around 11.30 am, and by 1.20 pm they started intense mortar shelling as well.

During the shelling, Phoolan Jan, 55, of Golad in Mendhar got injured. She was working at a maize field near her house at the time.

The Indian army also destroyed three unexploded mortar shells in Mendhar area which had been fired by Pakistan in the past two days.

On Monday, Pakistani troops had resorted to mortar shelling and small arms fire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district. Sources had said that Pakistani troops initiated the ceasefire violation in Qasba and Kerni areas of Poonch around 3 pm. The "unprovoked” firing killed two Indian soldiers and a civilian in border Kupwara district.

The violation came a day after Indian troops in a retaliatory fire had inflicted heavy casualties on Pakistani troops and destroyed a number of militant camps across various locations along the opposite side of Kashmir Valley’s Tangdhar area. The Saturday night’s attacks on terrorist launch pads were conducted from within Indian territory.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had claimed that severe damage had been caused to terrorist infrastructure. "Six-10 Pakistani soldiers have been killed, three camps have been destroyed”, Rawat said. He added that in the last one month, with Diwali approaching, repeated infiltration attempts had been made.