Heavy shelling by Pakistan killed a young army captain and three jawans on Sunday while injuring four others along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Pak shelling was so close to the residential areas that locals were forced to flee and seek safe cover to avoid loss of life. In view of the shelling, all 84 schools within five kilometres of the LoC in Rajouri district have been ordered to remain shut for next three days.
The officials said that the situation was very tense as firing and shelling by Pakistani troops continued round the clock. Indian forces are giving a befitting reply.
This is the second time this year that schools in parts of Jammu and Kashmir had to be shut because of Pak firing. In January, schools along the International Border and the LoC in five districts -- Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri and Poonch - were closed for over a fortnight because of firing and shelling by Pakistani troops. Giant balloons of smoke could be seen rising on the hills at the LoC.
Authorities in Poonch issued an advisory asking people to stay inside their homes.
However, several local villagers were forced to rush out of their houses and sought shelter as Pakistan used missiles to attack civilians for the first time.
A local told India TV that there is widespread fear and anger towards Pakistan. "We have been forced to fear for our lifetime and again. As soon as the firing started we rushed out of our houses, in fact, some children do not even know where their parents are," he said.
Army Captain who lost his life on LoC on Sunday was just six days short of turning 23. Captain Kapil Kundu was a resident of village Ransika in Haryana's Gurgaon district was killed when the Pakistani forces opened unprovoked firing and shelling along the LoC in the Bhimbher Gali sector of Rajouri district this evening. He would have turned 23 on February 10, the official said.
Forty-two-year-old Havildar Roshan Lal, a resident of Samba district, 27-year-old Riflemen Ramavatar of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Subham Singh (23) of J&K's Kathua district were also killed, he said.
People expressed anger and grief on social media against the incessant loss of lives due to the prevailing tensions along the LoC all year long.
Earlier in the day, two teenagers and a jawan were injured in Shahpur sector of Poonch district in shelling from across the border, a police official said.
A defence spokesman said the Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatic weapons and mortars around 1110 hours. The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively, he said.
In another ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Rajouri district, a police official said six mortars exploded near Neaka Panjgrain and Tarkundi villages in Manjakote sector around 3.40 pm.
The mortars were fired by Pakistani troops and the Indian forces guarding the LoC responded, triggering an exchange of fire between the two sides, he said.
Pakistani troops carried out intense shelling along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts and LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts from 18 January to 22 January.
While there were no ceasefire violations by Pakistan reported along the IB since 22 January, intermittent shelling has taken place along the LoC.
Pained to hear that three soldiers were killed & two injured along the Line of Control in Rajouri. My condolences to the deceased’s families.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 4, 2018
(With inputs from PTI)