A teenaged boy was killed and another two civilians injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Monday after Indian troops shelled two different sectors along the Line of Control (LoC), officials said.
The casualties occurred in Leepa valley of Muzaffarabad division and Battal sector of Poonch division where “unprovoked” shelling from across the divide started at about 8am, according to the officials.
“The shelling was unrelenting and indiscriminate between 8am and 11am and intermittent between 11am and 4pm,” said Ahmed Subhani, assistant commissioner of Leepa valley where a 10th-grade student was killed and a 5th-grade student injured in Manda Kuli village.
“When the shelling started, 16-year-old Jawad came out of his house that he considered vulnerable to shelling and rushed towards another structure located at the back but fell victim to the shelling in the courtyard,” Subhani said.
“Splinters pierced his abdomen, leaving him dead on the spot.”
The official said 10-year-old Ehsan was injured in another house, but his condition was out of danger.
Residents said that at least eight houses were partially damaged in Manda Kuli and neighbouring Channiyan village.
According to the assistant commissioner, the Pakistan Army had “befittingly responded to Indian shelling”.
In Battal sector, a state-run primary school in Lachyal village came under firing and while taking students to safety, schoolteacher Faseeh-ul-Haq, 32, was injured, local police official Muhammad Hayat told Dawn.
The school building was partially damaged and a house also sustained damage in Darra Sher Khan village of the same sector, he said.
While condemning the latest incident of Indian shelling, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider stated that “there is no end to the madness of the Indian army stationed in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
“They are killing innocent Kashmiris on both sides of the divide with impunity. This must not go unnoticed by the international community,” he added.
The heavily militarised LoC has been frequently witnessing ceasefire violations in a serious breach of the November 2003 truce agreement between the two armies.
As a result, a number of civilians have either lost their lives or sustained injuries in different areas of AJK.
According to Syed Shahid Mohyiddin Qadri, secretary of the State Disaster Management Authority, Monday’s casualties have pushed the death toll in the ongoing year to 57 — 41 of them males and the rest females — while another 257 civilians sustained injuries.
Additionally, as many as 103 houses were destroyed and another 615 partially damaged, he said.
Qadri added that 83 shops, 29 vehicles, two motorbikes, seven school buildings, two health facilities, 11 cattle sheds and one mosque were also damaged and 106 cattle head killed in Indian shelling in 2019.