Three persons including a child and a woman have been killed in North Kashmiris Kupwara district after India and Pakistan exchange artillery fire. The firing had started at about 5 pm, according to army sources, it was totally unprecedented and unprovoked. However, it has been seen as a retaliation to the military action that took place on Saturday.
Locals in the area are terrified and living under fear from the past few days. They have to keep themselves safe from both COVID-19 and the shelling. “We are being told to stay at home on one hand and on the other to leave our village, what shall we do?” said Javid, a local resident.
Although skirmishes take place on the border all the time, the use of artillery in civilian areas is very rare. Locals, however, allege that the army deliberately placed their guns in the civilian areas. “There was a scuffle between the army and the people after they were to move out of the local playground, to which they refused,” said Adnan, a resident of the area. “Why are we being put in the line of fire if the border is kilometres away? Do they want us all to get killed?” He added.
Kashmiris have taken to Twitter and have condemned this incident and have criticized both the armies for the use of force in civilian areas given the problems created by COVID- 19.
Mirza Waheed, a writer from Kashmir wrote ” 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!”