1. War like situation prevailing in forward areas of Nowshera
2. Two Indian soldiers attained martyrdom in ceasefire violation in two different sectors of Rajouri and Nowgam
3. Over 200 school children safely evacuated in bullet proof bunkers by army, police jawans
It was a war like situation in the forward areas of Nowshera sector in frontier Rajouri districts on Tuesday as over 200 school children remained stranded inside their class rooms for around six hours as Pakistan army bombarded civilian pockets using 120 mm mortar shells.
One Indian army jawan attained martyrdom in heavy cross firing while five others received injuries in Nowshera sector.
This is for the first time Pakistani army trained their guns towards school going children and lobbed mortar shells on the school premises.
Few civilians were also hit by splinter injuries as several shells exploded close to residential areas in the forward villages. Fear gripped border residents who desperately waited for the first opportunity to shift their families to nearby relief camp set up by the district authorities.
An estimated population of over 5000 local residents was affected due to continuous shelling in the area and out of these over 900 families have been camping in relief camps.
Another Indian soldier attained martyrdom in Nowgam while he was targeted by Pakistani sharp shooters from across the line of control.
According to Defence spokesman Lt Col Munish Mehta, “24-year-old Sepoy Jaspreet Singh, hailing from Moga district of Punjab, attained martyrdom in the heavy exchange of fire in Nowshera sector on Tuesday”.
Tensions escalating further along LoC
This is for the first time Pakistani army trained their guns towards school going children and lobbed mortar shells on the school premises. Previously, Pakistan army targeted administrative block of Trade Facilitation center at Chakan-da-bagh in Poonch.
Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said, “217 Students and 15 teachers from three schools were safely evacuated in bullet proof bunkers amid heavy mortar shelling in Nowshera sub-division on Tuesday evening”.
“55 students and teachers had a narrow escape as High School, Sair came under direct hit of shells damaging larger portion while class room remained unaffected. 12 children were rescued from Middle school Kaladi and 150 students held up at Govt High School Bhawani were shifted to Nowshera”, he added.
According to DC, Rajouri, “forward villages including Kalsian, Sair, Bhawani, Namb, and Jhangar received heavy shelling in interior inhabited area.” The team of officers came under heavy shelling in Bhawani and had a narrow escape as shells landed few meters away from school.
All schools in Nowshera and Manjakote sector have been closed for an indefinite period, DC Rajouri said.
Cross LoC bus service and Trade suspended
The ongoing tension between India and Pakistan has started affecting smooth run of cross LoC peace bus service and trade ties.
On Monday peace bus service was suspended for the second consecutive week while on Tuesday no truck was permitted to cross the line of control ferrying supplies from both sides of the line of control.
Ceasefire violation was also reported along the line of control in Bhimber Gali and Poonch sector around 6.45 a.m. A large number of residents in Balakote sector of Poonch remained huddled inside their homes due to intense shelling in the area.
Mehbooba Mufti pitches for dialogue with Pakistan despite escalating tensions
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday expressed hope that peace and friendship between India and Pakistan would finally triumph over acrimony and confrontation between the two neighboring countries.
She also expressed the hope that the ambit of cross-LoC trade and travel activities would be further expanded so that there is more exchange of people and goods.
Interacting with media persons after visiting Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), near Kaman Post, the Chief Minister described poverty, unemployment, and corruption as the biggest enemies of the people of the two countries and suggested pooling of resources by the two countries in fighting these menaces.
She said it is a fact that borders cannot be redrawn but they can certainly be made irrelevant with frequent exchange of people, students, artists and other groups of people.
Expressing dismay over recurrent flare-ups along the LoC, the Chief Minister said unfortunately, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the worst sufferers of this hostility as they have to live under perpetual threat to their lives and properties. She said the only way to prevent the loss of lives and destruction of properties and ensure peace along the borders is to revive the spirit of the 2003 ceasefire which had brought new hope of peace and prosperity in the lives of the people along the borders from Kathua to Kargil.
Advocating opening of more traditional routes along the LoC, Mehbooba Mufti said with this the people on the two sides would come closer to each other, understand better each others’ problems which ultimately would lead to lowering of tensions and violence which has plagued the State for a long time now.