India suspends cross-LoC travel to Pakistan from Poonch district

India has suspended cross-LoC travel between India and Pakistan on the Poonch-Rawalakote road following heavy unprovoked mortar shelling and automatic weapon firing by the Pakistani troops at various places in the Poonch district. The announcement was made by the Deputy Commissioner of Poonch district, Mohammad Harun Malik. Though there have been no casualties on the Indian side, some damage has been caused to a two storey administrative block at the Trade Felicitation Centre in the district’s Chakkan Da Bagh area.

The 82 mm mortar shelling was initiated by the Pakistani troops on 12 March 2017 in Krishnagati sector along LoC in Poonch district. The travel on cross-border Poonch-Rawlakote bus service was suspended as a precaution after the shelling. The shelling was resumed after a brief cease-fire, targeting Indian posts and civilian areas near the Line of Control.

According to an army spokesperson, Indian forces befittingly responded to the shelling. The damaged administrative block houses the offices of Custodian cross-LoC trade, excise department and security officials among others. Apart from causing damage to its walls, the shelling blew off its tin sheet roof and left holes in the equipment and infrastructure installed inside it.

Speaking on the damage caused, the Custodian of cross LoC trade Tanveer Ahmed said that they are still assessing the damage and will take some time to restore the block and its infrastructure. He further added that the trade would be initiated depending upon the situation as other TFC offices were intact. In another precautionary measure, Jammu & Kashmir’s education department has postponed the 6th and 7th class exams in the areas affected by the unprovoked firing in Poonch.

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