India on Saturday strongly condemned the ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was “highly deplorable” that Islamabad chose a festive occasion to disrupt peace in the region.

Officials said six civilians, three Indian Army soldiers and a Border Security Force sub inspector were killed when Pakistani troops initiated ceasefire violations in multiple sectors along the LoC. Nineteen others were injured during the major cross-border shelling.

As the Indian Army retaliated, six people, including a Pakistani soldier, were killed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the Dawn reported. However, Indian media reports said that six to seven Pakistani soldiers were killed in the firing.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said it has summoned the Charge d’Affaires of Pakistan High Commission and lodged a strong protest against the “unprovoked” ceasefire violations.

“India condemns, in the strongest terms, the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by Pakistani forces,” the statement read. “It is highly deplorable that Pakistan chose a festive occasion in India to disrupt peace and perpetrate violence in Jammu and Kashmir through coordinated firing along the length of the LoC using heavy caliber weapons, including artillery and mortar on Indian civilians.”

New Delhi also objected to Pakistan’s continued support to cross border infiltration into India. “Pakistan was once again reminded of its bilateral commitment to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manner,” it added.

There has been a significant rise in ceasefire violations by Pakistan this year. According to official data, Pakistan has resorted to 4,052 incidents of ceasefire violations in the current year as against 3,233 in 2019, PTI reported.

Earlier in the day, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti asked both India and Pakistan to rise above their political compulsions and initiate dialogue after increase in such incidents.