This Wednesday, authorities ordered hundreds of schools to close in the Kashmir region for an indefinite amount of time. The disputed area has seen shelling from Indian as well as Pakistani troops. In the past two days, 14 civilians have been killed. The region of Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan. Since tensions between the two neighboring countries of India and Pakistan have gotten worse, the local people in the region have been suffering. There were civilian casualties to the fighting between Indian and Pakistani troops. And now schools are closing because it is unsafe for children to go to school anymore.
Shelling and Mortar Bombs Force Schools to Close
Authorities in the side of Kashmir that India administers have issued orders for almost 300 schools to close. The schools are in an area that has seen fighting recently. The border between India and Pakistan is highly militarized. This Tuesday, there was mortar shelling along the border. Eight civilians lost their lives. As a result, this Wednesday, authorities took the decision to not put the lives of children at risk.
On the side that Pakistan administers, authorities say that they are going to close 25 schools for the rest of the week. The schools are in the Nakyal sector. The region has sustained shelling from Indian forces over the past few days. Since Monday, six civilians have died.
The decision to close schools gives another blow to an education system that was struggling anyway. There had been closures of schools in Srinagar, the largest city in the part of Kashmir administered by India. Also, there had been arson attacks on schools.
This Tuesday, mortar bombs hit the Jammu region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir belonging to India. The bombs hit locations in the Samba and Rajouri sectors. Eight civilians died, including two children. Now, officials want to close schools in that region.
“Nearly 300 schools, both private and government-run, have been asked to close down in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts,”
said Pawan Kotwal, an official in Jammu.
Tensions between India and Pakistan Continue
Pawan Kotwal added that the border had been mostly calm over the night. Only a few incidents of cross-border firing took place in some areas. But with recent events still fresh in everybody’s memory, the two sides have much to say to one another. India and Pakistan are both countries with nuclear capability. The tensions between the two neighboring countries have been escalating. Neither side seems willing to stand down. Instead, the two countries accuse each other of wrong doing and breaching the ceasefire between them.
Pakistan also placed the blame on India for civilian casualties. Firing from Indian forces resulted in six civilian deaths. According to the Pakistani side, one of the civilian casualties was an 18-month-old girl. So, Islamabad summoned a high-ranking Indian diplomat in protest over the deaths.
The region has been the scene of unprecedented violence, the deadliest it had seen for the last six years. As the death toll rises, the region seems gripped by an inability to move forward and find a resolution to the conflict.
Image source: here.