• Kashmir shootout 14 killed, schools shut


    SRINAGAR, India: Hundreds of schools were ordered to close indefinitely in Kashmir Wednesday after a flare-up in violence between Indian and Pakistani security forces in the disputed region left 14 civilians dead.

    Authorities on the Indian-administered side said schools were ordered to shut from Wednesday morning following the death of eight civilians in mortar shelling along the highly militarized border in the Jammu region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

    “Nearly 300 schools, both private and government-run, have been asked to close down in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts,” Pawan Kotwal, a top official in the civilian administration in Jammu, told AFP.

    He said the border remained relatively calm overnight with only few incidents of cross-border firing reported in some areas.

    Eight civilians, including two children, were killed on Tuesday when mortar shells hit two locations in Samba and Rajouri sectors.

    On Monday, Pakistani authorities said six civilians, including a 18-month-old girl, had been killed on its side of the border in firing by Indian security forces operating in Jammu.

    Islamabad summoned a senior Indian diplomat to protest over the killings.

    India and Pakistan’s armies have regularly exchanged fire across the Line of Control — the de facto border in Kashmir — as well as along the undisputed part of their border since a militant attack on an Indian army base on September 18 left 19 soldiers dead.

    Both countries accuse each other of violating the 2003 ceasefire and engaging in “unprovoked firing”.

    Eight Indian soldiers have also died in the border skirmishes.

    Relations between the two countries have plummeted in recent months since the attack on the army base, the deadliest in more than a decade.



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