Schools Shut, People Evacuated

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RAJOURI: District administration here has ordered closure of 87 schools along LoC till further orders in view of recurrent cross-border shelling in the villages located in the forward areas of the district.

“Around 87 schools with total enrollment of 4457 students in areas along LoC affected by shelling from across the border in district Rajouri will remain closed till further orders,” Deputy Commissioner Dr Shahid Iqbal said.

He said in 0-5 KM range from LoC in Nowshera, 51 schools have been closed which includes 2 Higher Secondary Schools and 5 High Schools with a total enrolment of 2829 students. “Besides, 36 schools located in Dandesar, Doongi and Manjakote will also remain closed for next three days,” he said adding these include 2 schools in Dandesar zone, 18 in Doongi and 16 in Manjakote zone.

“During the ceasefire violation at least 2 schools were damaged in Jhangar area of Nowshera zone today while a mortar shell hit Middle School Thathiali in Manjakote area,” the DDC said adding that the decision to close the schools in the area has been taken to ensure safety of the students and the staff.

Meanwhile officials said 270 people were evacuated from various areas along the LoC in Rajouri district to safer places.

“More than 200 people from various villages have been shifted to various camps established by district dministration where facilities of ration, cooking, drinking water, sanitation, first aid and proper accommodation have been provided,” Choudhary, who is camping in Nowshera, said earlier in the day.

In the evening, he said two more vehicles carrying around 70 people reached Nowshera in the afternoon, taking the number of migrants to 270.

So far, three camps have been made operational and 28 others notified in wake of expected migration from affected villages, Iqbal said.

A fleet of 6 buses were inducted into Jhangar area at 4 pm for evacuation of around 400 people and shifting them to relief camps, he said.

“Six ambulances were pressed into action for shifting of injured and treatment. One mobile medical unit was stationed at Nowshera and another deputed to forward areas,” he added.

Rescue team of district administration also came under shelling ahead of Nonial LoC area which led to suspension of rescue operation for around three hours, Iqbal said.

Around 120 officers from various departments have been deployed to organise facilities at relief camp.

District administration provided immediate relief and financial assistance to the next of kin of the deceased and to the injured, he said.

A control room has been established in the office of SDM Nowshera for coordination.

The government had last month said that Pakistani forces had violated the ceasefire 268 times in the last one year. Nine persons were killed in these incidents.

Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre had said some time back that between April 2016 and March 2017, the maximum of 88 violations were witnessed in November 2016 followed by 78 in October 2016 and 22 in March this year.

The ceasefire between India and Pakistan came into force in November 2003.

Meanwhile,  Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has expressed grief over the death of two civilians and injuries to few others at Jhanger in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district today due to cross LoC shelling.

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