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3 civilians killed in firing along Kashmir border

Pakistan accuses Indian forces of resorting to heavy shelling, which also injured another 8

Pakistan on Tuesday accused Indian troops of “heavily” shelling the disputed Kashmir border, killing at least three civilians.

The fresh casualties — including one child — were reported from the remote Neza Peer area in the Haveli district of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, also known as Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), after artillery fire from Indian troops, the region’s presidential spokesman Faisal Khan alleged in a statement.

Eight civilians were also injured in the shelling, Khan added.

Already fraught relations between the two South Asian nuclear rivals have further flared up after India scrapped the special provisions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5.

Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.

Indian authorities, however, claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 93% of the region, a claim Anadolu Agency could not verify independently.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian Constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws.

The provisions also protected the region’s citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

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