Seven-year-old Gaurav Kumar is one of the several small children writing his examination in the lawn of Bal Kisan Academy in Fatehpur Brahmana village under Ranbir Singh Pora tehsil of Jammu district.
“I get scared by the sound of mortar explosions. My parents sent me to school because of the half-yearly exams,” Gaurav Kumar, a student of Class 2 of the state government-recognised middle school, said.
Pakistan Rangers have been pounding Fatehpur Brahmana, which is barely 1.5km from Zero Line along the Line of Control, and other border villages with mortars and heavy machine gun fire since last week. The Hindustan Times team also witnessed two big mortar explosions in nearby Abdullian village on Monday morning.
While the state government has claimed that all schools on the border have been closed until normalcy returns, children of Bal Kisan Academy were writing their exams amid flying mortars.
School headmistress Sonam Sharma said that neither the chief education officer nor anyone else from the government has asked her to close the school.
“ ... half yearly exams had to be conducted and that is why they were asked to attend the school,” Sharma said.
“We are not at any fault because none in the administration asked us to close the school,” she added.
At least 25 Indian posts and over 18 villages were targeted along the international border in RS Pura, Kanachak, Arnia, Akhnoor and Pargwal sectors of Jammu district.
A Border Security Force (BSF) jawan and a six-year-old boy were killed while a BSF officer and another jawan were among six others injured in the attack by the Pakistan Rangers late on Sunday. The shelling also left 35 cattle dead and over 200 injured.
The high-intensity attack came barely three days after the BSF said it had killed seven Pakistan Rangers personnel and a terrorist in firefights through the day across Bobiya area of Hiranagar in Katuha district, Samba in Samba district and Pargwal in Jammu district.
The BSF retaliation had followed the death of constable Gurnam Singh in a sniper attack in Bobiya.
“Jammu region has hundreds of schools on the Indo-Pak border and during tense relations between the two countries, small school children could be sitting ducks for the trigger happy Pakistan rangers,” Mohan Lal, a villager, said.
“It was right to question the school headmistress but she, too, had not been informed by anyone from the government. This is how this government treats the people along the border,” he said.
Pakistan has violated the ceasefire agreement twice in the past one day and 39 times since India’s surgical strikes on September 29.
Amid the flare up along the borders, BSF has foiled three infiltration attempts in the past six days.