MUZAFFARABAD: A man was killed and eight schoolchildren were injured in a village of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Friday in the Indian shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC).
The latest incident of ceasefire violation took place in Nakyal sector of Kotli district after a gap of almost three weeks. The previous such incident, which caused 10 deaths, occurred on Nov 23 in the upper belt of the Neelum valley, when a bus was targeted with small arms and mortars.
According to Nakyal Assistant Commissioner Sardar Zeeshan Nisar, Indian troops started shelling in the area in the morning “without any provocation” and the shelling continued till noon at intervals.
As Pakistani troops responded to the shelling, the Indians “as usual” fired shells on civilian populations, he added.
Mr Nisar said that one of the shells exploded near a school bus in Mohra village, killing 25-year driver Mohammad Asad on the spot and injuring eight students, aged between 5 and 15 years.
They were identified as Talia Rubi, 13, Farrukh Zulqarnain, 11, Ehsan Arshad, 15, Rukhsana Yousuf, 15, and her sister Shabnam Yousuf, 10, Sadaf Riaz, 8, Samiur Rehman, 5, and Mehrab Babu, 15.
Seven of them were admitted to the Nakyal tehsil headquarters hospital and were said to be out of danger.
The Pakistan army’s media affairs wing, ISPR, confirmed the incident, saying, “Indian troops violated the sanctity of ceasefire and targeted a school van” in Nakyal sector.
“Pakistani troops effectively responded and targeted Indian posts from where fire was coming,” the ISPR said.
In a statement, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider condemned the Nakyal incident and said Indian troops were hell-bent upon multiplying tensions in the region.
“Unrelenting shelling by the trigger-happy Indian troops on unarmed civilians along the LoC should not go unnoticed,” he said, calling upon the United Nations to take immediate stock of “war crimes” by Indian troops in Kashmir before “it’s too late”.
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2016