A BSF inspector and a five-year-old girl were among three persons killed while 24 others were injured Monday as Pakistani troops persisted with heavy shelling of forward areas along the Line of Control in Poonch district, prompting the Indian Army to retaliate "befittingly", said officials.
Some cattle too were injured while six village houses bore the brunt of shelling and suffered severe damages, they added.
"The Indian Army is retaliating befittingly," a Defence spokesperson said.
Pakistan army resorted to heavy mortar shelling in civilian areas along the LoC in Balonie belt of Poonch tonight, killing a woman, Sajada Bi, injuring five others, they said.
Earlier five personnel of BSF's 168 battalion, including Inspector T Alex Lalminlun, were injured as shells landed at a forward post in Poonch sector Monday as Pakistan continued to violate the ceasefire for the fourth consecutive day in Poonch and Rajouri districts.
The BSF inspector later succumbed to his injuries while the injured BSF personnel were hospitalised, the officials said.
The injured soldiers are out of danger, they added.
Sobia, 5, was killed and two persons were injured when a shell exploded near their house in a village in Shahpur sub-sector along the LoC late Monday afternoon, they said.
Elsewhere, 12 civilians, including two women, were injured in the shelling by Pakistan, they said, adding an Army jawan too suffered injuries in Krishnagati sector.
All the injured persons have been hospitalised, they added.
The villages in forward areas along the LoC which were targeted by Pakistani army included Dhokri, Banwat, Bandi Chechian, Qasba, Digwar, Guntarian, Shahpur, Mankote, Gulpur and Kerni Krishnagati, they said.
Pakistan has been using heavy weaponry and 120 mm mortar bombs to target civilian areas along the LoC in Poonch, triggering panic among villagers, they said.
The firing and shelling by Pakistan army is still going on intensely in Krishnagati, Kerni, Mankote, Gulpur, Degwar Shahpur and Poonch sub-sectors when the reports last came in from the area, he added.
A defence spokesperson said Pakistan Monday violated the ceasefire 7.40 am onward with mortar shelling and small arm firings along the LoC in Shahpur, Mankote, Krishnagati and Kerni sectors of Poonch district.
Some villagers bearing the brunt of shelling said some cattle too were injured in the shelling.
Amid the ongoing shelling by Pakistan, the people have been advised to stay indoors, the officials said, adding schools too in the shelling-hit areas have been closed down.
A total of ten persons, including four soldiers have been killed and nearly 45 others injured in Rajouri and Poonch districts since India's air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26 in response to the February 14 Pulwama terror strike which had left 40 CRPF personnel dead.
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