Four killed in latest shelling across disputed Kashmir border

MUZAFFARABAD/SRINIGAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Four people were killed on Tuesday in exchanges of fire between India and Pakistan in disputed Kashmir, officials said, the latest violence amid tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Three civilians were killed and three wounded by Indian shelling in the Battal sector of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Pakistani police official Mir Abid said.

“A mortar shell landed on the house of one Zakir Hussain Shah in Mandhol village, killing his 45-year old wife and 6-year old daughter on the spot,” said Abid, adding that another man was killed near a bridge in the area.

An Indian soldier was killed in the Jammu sector of Indian-administered Kashmir during the exchanges of fire, an Indian military spokesman said, adding that two soldiers were wounded and Indian forces responded to the firing.Firing by both sides continued, both officials said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office summoned India’s deputy high commissioner on Tuesday to condemn the firing, the government said in a statement.

Three people were also killed on Monday, in the Pakistan-administered area of Nakyal, after a similar exchange of fire.

Tension between India and Pakistan has been high since July, when Indian forces killed a young Kashmiri fighter in Indian-administered Kashmir, prompting months of protests and a security crackdown that has claimed more than 80 lives.

Both countries claim all of Kashmir, but administer separate parts, divided by a defacto border. Since independence from the British in 1947, they have fought two of their three wars over the territory.

Tension ratcheted further in September, when 18 Indian soldiers were killed at an army base in Indian-administered Kashmir, in an attack Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Pakistan denied that it was involved in that attack.

Several days later, India said it had carried out “surgical strikes” on militant bases across the border, a claim Pakistan dismissed as “an illusion”.

Last week, both countries expelled each others’ diplomats, and named a number of others as being involved in spying.

Violations of a 2003 ceasefire on the defacto border have regularly occurred in the last two months, with at least 19 people killed on both sides in shelling last week.

Writing by Asad Hashim; Editing by Clarence Fernandez