SRINAGAR: Indian and Pakistan troops exchanged heavy gunfire and mortar shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.
Two BSF men were injured in the Pakistani firing and authorities have ordered closure of 72 schools near the LoC. Earlier in the day there were reports in the media that 100 children were trapped in a school in Manjokote sector of Rajouri district for hours due to the shelling.
Defence spokesman in Jammu, Lt Colonel Devender Anand told TNIE that Pakistani troops breached border ceasefire and fired from automatic weapons and resorted to mortar shelling on Army posts and civilian areas in Bhimbher Gali sector in Poonch district at 8.50 am. He said the Army also effectively returned the fire from similar calibre weapons and the heavy exchange of gunfire and shelling continued till late forenoon.
The Pakistani troops also breached ceasefire in Rajouri sector by firing on Army positions and civilian areas in Tarkundi Gali, Lambi Bari, Khorinar, Dhar and Panjgrian areas of Manjakote sector of the border district.
A BSF official said two border guards were injured in the firing and have been hospitalised.
Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary told TNIE that firing and shelling by Pakistani troops continued till evening. “Now it has stopped,” he said. He said 72 schools in four zones close to LoC in Rajouri were closed after the Pakistani troops shelling. “The schools will also remain closed on Wednesday”. However, he denied media reports that students were stranded at school in Manjokote sector after being caught in the cross-LoC shelling.
“As a precautionary measure, we have decided to close 72 schools tomorrow,” Shahid said.
Last week, Uri sector in North Kashmir witnessed the heaviest shelling since the November 2003 border ceasefire came into effect and affected at least six villages and forced over 1,000 border residents to migrate to safer places.
‘No presence of ISIS’
J&K DGP S P Vaid ruled out the presence of global terror group ISIS in the state. “We are probing the ISIS claim about Sunday’s militant attack in Srinagar in which a policeman was killed,” Vaid said.
This was after ISIS claimed it was involved in the killing of a policeman guarding residence of moderate separatist leader Fazal Haq Qureshi.