India and Pakistan trade fire in Kashmir, killing four

India and Pakistan said a 2003 cease-fire in Kashmir had been violated, with troops exchanging gunfire Saturday. Two villagers on each side were killed and several injuries were reported.

Channi Anand/AP
An Indian woman displays a mortar shell allegedly fired on a residential area from the Pakistan side of the border in Ranbir Singh Pura region, about 22 miles from Jammu, India, Saturday. India and Pakistan traded gunfire in the disputed Kashmir region on Saturday, killing two villagers on each side and wounding several others, officials said.

India and Pakistan traded gunfire in the disputed Kashmir region on Saturday, killing two villagers on each side and wounding several others, officials said.

Dharmendra Pareek, a top official with India's paramilitary force, said Indian forces retaliated after Pakistani troops fired guns and mortar rounds on more than a dozen Indian border posts and at least three villages in the Ranbir Singh Pura region.

Pareek said two Indian villagers were killed, including an 8-year-old boy. One Indian border guard and three civilians were wounded, but their injuries were not life-threatening, he said.

Television images showed Indian villagers taking shelter in bunkers.

The region is about 185 miles northwest of Srinagar, the main city in the Indian portion of Kashmir.

In Pakistan, a senior army officer said two villagers were killed when the Indian border security force "resorted to unprovoked firing" along the border near the city of Sialkot in the Pakistani portion of Kashmir.

The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley said cease-fire violations by Pakistan had increased in the region, adding that "both the Indian army and the Border Security Force are fully vigilant and they effectively respond to each violation."

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and the rival neighbors claim the disputed Himalayan region in its entirety. They have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.

The two sides have largely followed a 2003 cease-fire accord, but sporadic violations have occurred.

Tensions have escalated in Kashmir since India earlier in the week called off diplomatic talks with Pakistan because the Pakistani ambassador in New Delhi met with separatist leaders from the disputed region.

India said the meeting undermined efforts to thaw relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors. But India has tolerated such meetings in the past, which suggests the country's new government is taking a hard line against Pakistan.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgent groups fighting for Kashmir's merger with Pakistan or independence from India since 1989. Pakistandenies the charge and says it offers only moral and diplomatic support to them.

Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.