Hundreds of schools were ordered to close indefinitely in Kashmir on 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-occupied side said nearly 300 schools had been ordered to shut from Wednesday morning following the death of eight civilians in mortar shelling along the highly militarised border in the Jammu region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Police Tuesday said 21 have been arrested and 20 other detained for questioning in connection with burning of schools, particularly in south Kashmir.
“A total of 21 people have been arrested and booked for torching of schools. 20 others have been detained and are being questioned,” Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Kashmir Range, Nitish Kumar told media here.
He said over more than people have been arrested from Kulgam district in last week. “Others have been arrested from Anantnag and Shopian districts”.
At least 27 schools have been set on fire by unknown persons in last two months in the Valley. Eight civilians, including two children, were killed on Tuesday (Nov 1) when mortar shells hit two locations in Samba and Rajouri sectors.
Earlier 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.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947.
Several groups have fought for decades an estimated 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the Himalayan territory, demanding independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan.