AJK girl killed by Indian firing on Eid day

MUZAFFARABAD: Unprovoked Indian firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) left a five-year-old girl dead in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on the first day of Eid on Saturday, triggering a protest demonstration by residents of the area.

The victim, Momina Khizar, was standing in the courtyard of her house in Polas village of Abbaspur sector when a single gunshot fired by some “trigger happy” Indian soldier pierced through her skull, local police official Javed Iqbal told Dawn.

Polas and other adjoining villages are at a stone’s throw from the restive LoC. The victim succumbed to her wound on way to a health facility in the town of Abbaspur, the official said.

Enraged residents of the area carried her body from the hospital to Abbaspur Bridge, where a protest was held.

Speakers at the protest claimed that the civil administration and the army had assured them of security at the LoC, “but had failed to keep their promise”.

About a month ago, several families from Abbaspur sector had left their homes due to intense and indiscriminate cross-border shelling. “We are living miserable lives as unrelenting cross-border firing and shelling has rendered us hostage in our own homes and there is no one to take care of us,” said one of the speakers at the demonstration.

The funeral prayers for the deceased were offered at the bridge twice due to the presence of a large number of people.

Ceasefire violations condemned

After the girl’s killing, the Foreign Office summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh to lodge protest over the unprovoked ceasefire violations by Indian troops in Chirikot Sector (Kakuta, Nullah and Polas villages) on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Director General South Asia and Saarc Dr Mohammad Faisal urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement, investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations and instruct its troops to respect the ceasefire in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC.

Since beginning of 2017 to date, Indian forces have carried out more than 700 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the Working Boundary, resulting in the killing of 30 civilians. Agencies