- ISLAMABAD - As many as 22
Indian troops were killed in an an accidental land mine explosion on the
Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) on Sunday, as Pakistan dismissed
an Indian army report that its forces had shot down an unmanned Pakistani
spy plane, saying the Indians had lost a remote-control spy aircraft of
Meanwhile, three Indian troops were killed as Pakistani and Indian forces
exchanged mortar fire on the working boundary on Sunday. The official sources
said the retaliatory mortar fire by Chenab Rangers ki Earlier, India army
sources claimed the spy plane entered held Kashmir at roughly 3:45 pm (Indian
time) and flew eight kilometres into the district of Poonch where it circled
over army installations. The plane was eventually shot down by an army
helicopter and crashed on the Pakistani areas, they added.
A Pakistani military spokesman dismissed the report. "This propaganda
is totally baseless and concocted," Pakistani spokesman Brigadier
Saulat Raza said. "Actually they themselves have lost one remotely
piloted vehicle. We haven't lost any aircraft, neither have we violated
Indian-held airspace," he said. He said the Indian aircraft had come
down in the held territory in the Jammu sector of Kashmir.
Indian and Pakistani troops exchange daily fire across the Line of Control
(LoC). A brief artillery and mortar duel erupted at dusk on Sunday in the
Neelum valley, 160 km north-east of Muzaffarabad, a Pakistan Army officer
said. At least one villager was killed and three were wounded as Pakistani
and Indian border guards resumed firing on Saturday night, police and witnesses
said. Pakistan said the Indian army fired mortars and shells in the southern
Rawalakot sector where hundreds of villagers already have evacuated. Three
injured villagers have been taken to a government hospital.
Brig Saulat Raza said: "The Indian Army is firing with mortar guns
and artillery in several sectors, targeting the civilian population in
Kotli and Bhimber sectors," he told BBC. India said a child was killed
and a woman injured in Malavila, 35 kilometres from held Jammu due to exchange
of fire. "The firing is not as intense as Saturday but both sides
are keeping their heads down," a police official said from Akhnoor.
Indian army posts in the towns of Samba, RS Pora, Kathua and Palanwalan
reported exchanges of more than 15,000 rounds of small arms fire. At least
three civilians were injured on Sunday in Poonch, 240 kilometres north-west
of Jammu, a police spokesman said. One army personnel was killed by the
heavy shelling of Pakistan army in Poonch sector this morning while three
personnel sustained injuries. -Agencies
Our Sialkot correspondent adds: Three Indian troops were killed as Pakistani
and Indian forces exchanged mortar fire on the working boundary on Sunday.
The official sources said the retaliatory mortar fire by Chenab Rangers
killed three Indian soldiers and destroyed four enemy bunkers in the held
Samba sector near the Shakargarh area of the working boundary.
In a related development, the death toll of an accidental land mine explosion
on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) rose to 22 on Sunday with
five more hospitalised victims dying of injuries, police and eyewitnesses
The four soldiers and one civilian died in a military hospital in Amritsar.
The number of soldiers killed in the explosion now stands at 18. With heightened
tensions between India and Pakistan in the last two weeks, Indian army
soldiers have been laying land mines along the border. Eyewitnesses said
some soldiers were unloading a truck filled with land mines while others
were fixing fuses on the mines at the village of Mahwa, about 20 km northwest
"The soldiers were busy working on the devices when suddenly we saw
the truck rolling back. In a second, there was a massive explosion. We
just ran to save our lives," farmer Ranjit Singh said and added "The
bodies of the dead were flung at least 7-8 meters away." Other eyewitnesses
said the truck driver had reversed the truck to let a tractor pass on the
narrow road, when it ran over a land mine. The initial blast killed 14
soldiers and three civilians who were in the tractor, police said. At least
15 people, mostly soldiers, were in hospital, five in serious condition,
according by doctors.
Civilians whose relatives died in the explosion complained that they had
not been handed over the bodies. The explosion was so powerful, villagers
said it shattered the windows and television screens in nearby houses.