MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan on Friday accused India of hitting a school van in the disputed Kashmir region, martyred the driver and wounding eight schoolchildren.
The incident occurred at Mohra village in Nakyal sector of Pakistani-administered Kashmir where officials said shelling by Indian troops was continuing.
“A shell fired by Indian troops hit a school van at LoC (Line of Control) in Nakyal sector, The van driver has been martyred and eight children wounded,” Zeeshan Haider, a senior government official told AFP. There was no immediate reaction from New Delhi.
Nakyal lies on the Line of Control, the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed Himalayan state.
Haider said the driver of the van, carrying pupils from a private school, was killed on the spot while the children, aged between 10 and 15 years, were taken to hospital amid heavy shelling.
Muhammad Nasrullah Khan, a doctor in Nakyal hospital told AFP that the children had shrapnel injuries but their condition was not life threatening.
Sardar Iftekhar, a police station house officer in Nakyal confirmed the incident and casualties and told AFP that the wounded children included five girls and three boys.
Months of tension between India and Pakistan have erupted into shelling and gunfire across the disputed Kashmir frontier, claiming the lives of dozens of people, including civilians. At least nine people were killed and seven others wounded late November in cross-border fire that hit a passenger bus in the village of Nagdar in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.
Tensions in the long-disputed Himalayan region reached dangerous levels in September, after India blamed Pakistani militants for a raid on an army base that killed 19 soldiers. India said it had responded by carrying out “surgical strikes” across the heavily militarised border, sparking a furious reaction from Islamabad, which denied the strikes took place.
There have since been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over the mountainous region. -AFP