With ceasefire violations occurring more frequently and continuously between India and Pakistan, the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered the closure of all schools along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu region.
There are 174 schools in total in the area, including private and government schools. Eighty four schools were shut down in Balakot zone, Poonch, and 45 more in Samba district. Since the unrest in the Valley began in July, over 25 schools have been gutted in the last three months.
On Monday, the state’s high court took cognizance of the matter and asked the government to protect educational institutes coming under attack. The court also directed the police and administration to ensure protection of schools besides finding those responsible for the arson.
Meanwhile in the wake of the continuous ceasefire violations and firing from Pakistan, home minister Rajnath Singh held a high level meeting with defence minister Manohar Parrikar, national security advisor Ajit Doval and other senior home ministry officials to review the situation along IB and LoC.
The Border Security Force (BSF) had targeted around 14 Pakistan posts along the IB on Tuesday in response to the unprovoked firing and shelling of Pakistan Rangers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramgarh and Arnia Sector since morning.[caption id="attachment_27814" align="aligncenter" width="800"] A Kashmiri student looks out of a window of a partially burnt government high school in Goripora, on the outskirts of Srinagar on November 2, 2016 AFP[/caption]
In an escalation at the border, 8 people, including two children and four women, were killed and 22 injured on Tuesday as Pakistani troops targeted civilian areas here, inviting strong retaliation by Indian forces who killed two Pakistani soldiers and destroyed their 14 posts.
“BSF gave a calibrated retaliation on IB in response to unprovoked firing and shelling of Pakistan Rangers in area of Ramgarh and Arnia Sectors since morning,” its DIG Dharmendra Pareek said. “Since morning, BSF targeted Pakistan Rangers’ posts across IB in the same sector and caused heavy damage to 14 Pakistani Posts,” he said.
Earlier, Army sources said two Pakistani soldiers were killed in retaliatory firing along LoC opposite to Naushera sector of Rajouri district today.
With cross-border firing escalating, Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the situation at a meeting in Delhi which was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and other top officials.
Deputy Commissioner of Samba district, Sheetal Nanda, told PTI that five people died and eight others were injured in Pakistani shelling in Ramgarh sector on Tuesday. One person died due to shock during shelling in the same area, raising the toll of those killed in the area to six, she said.
Along the LoC, two women Sultan Begum and Maqbool Begum were killed in firing and shelling by Pakistani troops in Panjgrian border hamlet in Manjakote belt of Rajouri district, Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, Shabir Ahmed Bhat said.