At least 16 animals were killed in heavy firing and shelling by Pakistan Army on forward posts and villages in different sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Rajouri districts, officials said on Saturday. The intense shelling from across the border also prompted the authorities to suspend class work in nearly half a dozen government-run schools falling within the firing range in Poonch district on Saturday, they said.
A defence spokesman said Pakistan initiated the unprovoked ceasefire violation by targeting Nowshera sector in Rajouri and Balakote area of Mendhar, Shahpur and Kerni sectors in Poonch district, drawing befitting response from the Indian army.
Pakistan first violated the ceasefire in Nowshera sector from 8 pm to 10 pm on Friday, followed by firing of small arms and shelling with mortars in Balakote area of Mendhar sector in Poonch district from 11.45 pm to 2 am, he said.
At about 9.45 am on Saturday, the spokesman said, Pakistan again violated the ceasefire and targeted Shahpur and Kerni sectors in Poonch district.
The cross-border firing between the two sides was going on when the last reports were received, he said.
Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, Rahul Yadav said 16 domestic animals were killed in the overnight Pakistani shelling in the Balakote area.
“The class work in four schools was suspended today (Saturday) as a precautionary measure as there was apprehension of unexploded mortar shells lying in the vicinity,” Yadav told PTI.
Officials said a few more schools were closed in Shahpur sector in view of the ongoing shelling for the safety of the students.
Several residential houses suffered minor damages due to Pakistani shelling, they said, adding there was no report of any civilian casualty.
Panic gripped the border villagers as the shelling on civilian areas was intense, the officials said, adding the people have been advised to take necessary precautionary steps for their safety.
This year, according to officials, Pakistan violated the ceasefire over 2,050 times, leaving 21 Indians dead and scores of others injured.
India has repeatedly called upon Pakistan to ask its forces to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire understanding and maintain peace and tranquility along the LoC and the International Border.