Pakistani officials said on Wednesday the death toll from shelling by India of a passenger bus and villages along the dividing line in the disputed region of Kashmir has risen to 11.
Waheed Khan, a local official, said an artillery shell hit the bus in the Neelum Valley on Wednesday, killing nine people.
The entire Line of Control, the de facto border between India and Pakistan, is now a hot zone with firing at Poonch, Rajouri, Kel and Machil, said the army, indicating that a localized response is not enough after repeated incidents.
On Tuesday, a soldier was beheaded and two others killed by Pakistani commandos who crossed over at Machil. Just three weeks ago, another soldier was beheaded not far from the spot. “Retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act,” the army said in a statement.
Pakistan committed ceasefire violations in Bhimber Gali, Krishna Ghati and Nowshera sectors of Kashmir.
Pakistani army says troops are firing back on Indian military positions. Pakistan’s military media wing, ISPR, said in a statement that seven people were killed and seven wounded. Lawat is 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani occupied Kashmir, in the upper belt of Neelum Valley.
Tensions in Kashmir have escalated recently with deadly exchanges. Relations between Pakistan and India have been strained for several months, while cross-frontier shelling has intensified leading to deaths of civilians and soldiers stationed along the Line of Control.
This is the second time in less than a month that the body of an Indian soldier was mutilated along the LoC. Just three weeks earlier, Sepoy Mandeep Singh was beheaded by militants near the same area. Reports state that one of the militants was killed by the soldiers, but the other one fled back to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The army had reacted angrily to the killings. “Body of one soldier mutilated, retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act,” it tweeted on Tuesday.
India also lodged a protest with Pakistan when the foreign office in Islamabad summoned deputy high commissioner JP Singh on Tuesday to condemn “unprovoked ceasefire violations”.