Exchange of fire at LoC, Pak claims post attacked, 1 dead

Pakistan and India traded fresh accusations of ceasefire violation on Sunday with Pakistan accusing Indian soldiers of raiding its checkpost on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Haji Pir sector. Denying the charge, the Indian Army said it was Pakistani troops that had violated the ceasefire by targeting Indian pickets in the sector.

Pakistan claimed that one of its soldiers had died in the attack and another had sustained critical injuries.

Sources said Indian and Pakistani soldiers had exchanged fire for six hours at the LoC in Churanda village in the wee hours of Sunday. Indian officials said many houses in Churanda were damaged after they were hit by mortars from across the border.

The defence spokesman 15 Corps, Col Birjesh Pandey, said the firing began around 3.15 am on Indian pickets and villages in the Haji Pir sector. "Our troops retaliated using small arms," Pandey said, adding that the firing has since stopped. He categorically denied any violation of the ceasefire, put in place in 2003, by the Indian side.

India also lodged a protest with Pakistan saying such ceasefire violations would not be tolerated.

Earlier Pakistani army had alleged that Indian troops raided its post named Swan Patra in the Haji Pir sector, and left behind weapons before retreating.

This is the second ceasefire violation in Uri area in three months. In October, three villagers had died when Indian and Pakistani soldiers had exchanged heavy and small arms firing and mortars in Churanda.

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