For the second consecutive day, a state government-run middle school in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district became a place of refuge for its students and staff while Pakistani “artillery” shelling and small arms fire continued along the Line of Control.
Schools situated within 5 km of the LoC reopened on Tuesday after nearly a week, sources said. Many of the students were appearing for their annual exams.
On Wednesday, while the government middle school at Deeing reopened, Pakistani troops “again initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by heavy shelling with artillery and firing of small arms along the LoC in Nowshera and Sunderbani sectors of Rajouri district”, Defence Ministry spokesperson Lt Colonel Devender Anand said. The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively, he added.
During the shelling, sources said, the middle school’s students, teachers and other staff took refuge in classrooms. They remained there until 4.30 pm, when the cross-border shelling stopped.
Nowshera SP Girdhari Lal said there was no shelling on the school, but the students and teachers were asked to stay inside as a precautionary measure.
On Tuesday, too, they had taken refuge inside the school following Pakistani shelling.
Since the IAF strikes in Pakistan on February 26, four civilians have died and more than a dozen injured in mortar shelling and small arms fire by Pakistani troops on forward Indian positions and civilian areas along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts. An Army personnel was injured in the shelling in Nowshera sector on Tuesday.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had paid a two-day visit to forward locations in Jammu on Saturday and Sunday to review the operational deployment and preparedness of troops. He had interacted with officers and jawans, and was briefed on the Indian Army’s calibrated and effective response to ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops.
Army warns Pak against targeting civilians
New Delhi: The Indian Army on Wednesday issued a stern warning to Pakistan against targeting civilians on the Indian side of the LoC, saying that any “further provocation or misadventure” will have “dire consequences”.
In a statement, the Army said, “We would reiterate that as a professional Army, we are committed to avoid civil casualties, especially along the LoC. All actions taken by our defence forces are targeted towards counter terrorism and terrorist infrastructure, away from civilian areas, to avoid civilian casualties.
“We are maintaining strict vigil along the Line of Control and IB (International Border). Any further provocation or misadventure by Pakistan will be responded in a befitting manner with dire consequences.” —ENS