MUZAFFARABAD: A teenager was on Tuesday martyred in “unprovoked” shelling by India from across the restive Line of Control, pushing this year’s death toll to 14, officials said.

The fatality occurred in a high-altitude hamlet of Leepa valley, some 100km southeast of here, after shelling started in the area at about 7:15am “without any provocation” and lasted for four hours, said Ahmed Subhani, local assistant commissioner.

“While the 16 years old victim, Toheed, was walking between one mud-made structure to the other in Danna behak, a mortar shell fell on a tree close to him and its splinters pierced through his entire body, leaving him dead on the spot,” he told Dawn by telephone.

The splinters rendered his face almost unrecognisable, he said. Behaks are high-altitude pastures where villagers move to along with their cattle in summers.

The victim, a 10th grade student, had gone to the family’s behak on Monday along with one of his siblings, “but fell victim to enemy’s unrelenting aggression across the dividing line”, Mr Subhani said, adding that the boy was buried in the afternoon in his native Tilwarri village.

The latest casualty, according to Syed Shahid Mohyiddin Qadri, AJK’s secretary for civil defence and disaster management, increased the current year’s civilian death toll to 14 while the number of injured persons was 111.

The enemy shelling had also destroyed 25 houses and eight shops and partially damaged 227 houses, in addition to causing the death of some 87 cattle heads, he said.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020