Soldiers carry the coffin of slain colleague Naik Subash Thapa, 25, killed because of firing and shelling by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control in Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district in an earlier clash on October 11. Photo: AFP/Diptendu Dutta

At least nine people were killed Sunday in firing along the de facto India-Pakistan border in Kashmir, officials said, adding to the spike in deaths in recent days as New Delhi eased a curfew in the disputed region.

Tensions escalated between the nuclear-armed neighbors after India revoked Kashmir’s autonomy on August 5 and imposed movement and communications restrictions to quell unrest.

Officials from the two countries accused each other of firing mortar rounds and small arms along the so-called Line of Control.

“Two soldiers and a civilian were killed and three others injured in the unprovoked fire by Pakistan,” Indian Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said of the “unprovoked” fire in the mountainous Tangdhar region of Kupwara district.

Several homes were damaged in the attack and three civilians were being treated in a hospital, he added.

Officials in Pakistan-administered Kashmir said six civilians were killed and eight others wounded in Muzaffarabad and Neelum Valley.

“Mortar shells hit civilian houses and have so far martyred five people in Muzzafarabad and wounded six others,” said Muzaffarabad deputy commissioner Badar Munir said.

Munir said the dead included three members of one family. Neelum Valley official Akhtar Ayub said one civilian was killed and two injured.

The shelling came after five people were killed in Indian Kashmir on Wednesday, two days after New Delhi restored mobile phone and text services.

Indian authorities said repeatedly during the lockdown that Kashmir has been mostly peaceful.

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since 1947 and was the spark of two wars and numerous skirmishes.

An armed rebellion against Indian rule has raged in the valley since 1989, claiming tens of thousands of lives, mostly civilians.


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