It was a day of quite dramatic developments with nine Indians losing their lives in the shelling by Pakistani troops, who continue to violate ceasefire at the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
Those killed also included a 12-year-old boy and a 40-year-old woman.
Eleven villages in Jammu and Kashmir’s Balakote area are still being attacked by Pakistani mortar shells and guns for over 24 hours now.
Alarmed by the considerable rise in civilians’ death due to ceasefire violations, the Indian government summoned Pakistani high commissioner, Abdul Basit on Sunday.
After he emerged out of the ministry of external affairs office, Basit accused India of first violating the ceasefire at the LoC.
He said, “We are concerned about ceasefire violations. In July and August, there have been close to 70 ceasefire violations from this side of the LoC and the working boundary. We are obviously very concerned about it. Our side would like to have a more effective mechanism in place as to determine who indulges in these unprovoked firing.”
Pakistani media on Sunday reported that as many as seven of its civilians had been killed in Indian shelling from across the LoC.
Reacting to the ongoing escalation, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah said the latest deaths were deplorable.
He said, “We need to engage Pakistan army for solution. Pak government has no control. We need to get US, France to put pressure on Pakistan.”
Congress leader Digvijay Singh criticised the Indian prime minister for what he called his confused policy on Kashmir. He said that the current escalation in the valley was the outcome of how ‘Prime Minister had compromised with PDP’ to form the government in Kashmir.
He said, “Mujhe lagta hai kii jis prakaar se Kashmir mein unhone samjhauta kiya PDP ke saath,ye usi ka asar hai. PM banne ke pehle aur PM banne ke baad, unke saare bayaano mein virodhaabhaas hai.”
However, the most controversial comment on the ceasefire violation came from a union minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet.
On a day when 10 civilians had lost their lives in Pakistani shelling, Jitendra Singh, MoS(PMO), said that the villages bordering Pakistan had achieved complete peace and tranquility.
He told news agency ANI, “the people living along borders now feel much more secure than ever before.”
India has witnessed as may as 28 ceasefire violation at the LoC in just one week taking the total number of ceasefire violations to 32 for August. The two countries also did not exchange sweets along the Attari border either on 14 August (Pakistan’s Independence Day) or on 15 August( India’s Independence Day), as has been the tradition.
Not too long ago, Indian forces had captured a Pakistani terrorist, Naveed, alive after an an ambush on a BSF convoy in which two soldiers and another terrorist was killed.