Ubair Ul Hameed
Three civilians including a child and a woman have been killed in the Chowkibal area of North Kashmir’s Kupwara area after artillery shells landed in civilian areas.
According to an army source, Pakistan’s unprecedented and unprovoked firing and deliberate targeting of the civilian areas has lead to civilian deaths.
Locals however alleged that the Indian Army has brought the artillery closer to the civilians and this has made them the target.
“The soldiers have placed the artillery in the local playground, this has made civilians areas a target, people argued with the army but they didn’t take any action and a scuffle broke out between the locals and the army,” said Adnan, a resident of the Panzgam, an adjacent village to the Chowkibal area of the district.
“We’re not even close to the LOC; it’s about 30 km from here, why are we being targeted deliberately,” he added.
Clashes break out between the two armies very often on the LOC but it’s very rare that artillery is used in civilian areas.
Residents of the areas are living under fear and are keeping an eye on the movement of the army from the past few days. Junaid, a student living in Panzgam said: “we’re noticing that heavy artillery is being brought to the village, we knew something bad is going to happen”.
This situation with the existing COVID-19 threat has added to the miseries of the people.
“Houses have been burnt in today’s gunfire, where shall we stay? We’re only hoping that fate doesn’t have anything worse in the store for us; we can only hope and pray to see tomorrow,” he added.
With the shelling going on from the past few days, the area has been tense and has also given rise to concerns among people from the valley.
Kashmiris took to twitter to condemn the incident given the situation created by COVID-19. Mirza Waheed, a Kashmiri writer tweeted: “An artillery duel between India and Pakistan has just killed three Kashmiri civilians. This low-scale war always kills Kashmiris on both sides of the world’s most absurd ‘border’. For god’s sake, stop!.”
Khurram Parvez, a human rights, also took to Twitter and condemned the firing. ” Situation is turning ugly from last few days & if the two countries don’t desist people of Kashmir on both sides of LOC will witness more deaths,” he said.
Ubair Ul Hameed, a student of journalism at Aligarh Muslim University is one among the editorial interns of Maktoob