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India, Pakistan Continue to Exchange Fire Across Kashmir Border


An Indian villager walks near damaged shops hit by mortar attack allegedly fired from the Pakistan’s side in Arnia Sector near the India-Pakistan international border, about 47 kilometers from Jammu, India, Oct. 7. 2014.

Indian and Pakistani forces continued to exchange fire Tuesday across the border between Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan in renewed violence that has killed nine civilians.

The nine were killed Monday, marking the highest civilian death toll in the conflict over the disputed Kashmir region in more than a decade. Other civilians have been injured.

Each side has accused the other of provoking the violence, which began Sunday night.

Kashmir and Jammu
Kashmir and Jammu

It has been described as one of the worst violations of the 2003 cease-fire between the two countries.

The latest violence has prompted hundreds of villagers living along the border in Indian Kashmir to flee.

The Director General of Border Security Forces, D. G. Pathak, told reporters Tuesday that 40 Indian army posts were targeted by Pakistani soldiers. He said Indian soldiers have retaliated.

Pathak said villagers are requesting safety.
Indian officials accuse Pakistani soldiers of firing mortars and machine guns into Indian territory.

Indian Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijju said Indian soldiers are responding to the firing.

“I can't comment on what they [Pakistan] are doing, but response is there, appropriate on the ground. It is not going to be like earlier, response will be appropriate,” said Rijju.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has lodged a protest with the United Nations Military Observers Group alleging that Indian troops fired first.

Tensions between the two countries have intensified since India called off talks with Pakistan last month after the Pakistani High Commissioner held a round of talk with Kashmiri separatists. India said Pakistan has to choose between talking to New Delhi or the separatists.

Anjana Pastricha contributed to this report from New Delhi.