ISLAMABAD/SRI NAGAR - Pakistan yesterday lodged a strong protest with India over its recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

Director General South Asia Dr Mohammed Faisal summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia at the foreign office and condemned the unprovoked   ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces yesterday in Hot Spring and Chirikot Sectors of LoC.

“Two elderly innocent civilians were martyred and a seven year old minor boy got seriously injured in the unprovoked firing,” said a foreign ministry statement.

“The Director General South Asia and SAARC urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire arrangement and maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary. He urged that the Indian side should permit UNMOGIP to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions,” the statement added.

Faisal said the Indian forces had continuously been targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars, and automatic weapons along the LoC and Working boundary.

“This unprecedented escalation in   ceasefire violations by India is continuing from the year 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1970 ceasefire violations,” he added. Dr Faisal said the deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas was indeed   deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws.

He said the ceasefire violations by India were a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation.

Schools reopened in Indian Heldo Kashmir’s main city on Monday but most classrooms were empty as parents kept their children home, fearing unrest over the government’s decision two weeks ago to revoke the region’s autonomy.

Some 190 primary schools were set open in Srinagar in a sign of normalcy returning to Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir where authorities started to ease restrictions on movement last week.

Parents said their children would stay home until cellular networks are restored and they can be in contact with them.

“How can we risk the lives of our children?” said Gulzar Ahmad, a father of two children enrolled in a school in the city’s Batamaloo district where protests have occurred.

“Troops have arrested minor children in the last two weeks and several children were injured in clashes,” he said. “Our children are safe inside their homes. If they go to school who can guarantee their safety?”

Authorities have previously denied reports of mass arrests. Srinagar’s top administrative officer, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, said on Sunday that adequate security would be provided for schools. “I will take responsibility for any untoward incident,” he added.

Protests began after the Aug. 5 decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to withdraw Kashmir’s special status and integrate it fully into India, with equal rights for all Indians to buy property there and compete for government jobs.

Critics said the decision alienated many Kashmiris and would add fuel to a 30-year armed revolt in the Himalayan territory that Pakistan also lays claim to.

Paramilitary police in riot gear and carrying assault rifles stood behind steel barricades and coils of razor wire in Srinagar’s old quarter to deter a repeat of weekend protests. In dense neighbourhoods such as Batamaloo, youths set up makeshift barricades to block security forces from entering. Authorities reimposed curbs on movement in parts of Srinagar on Sunday after overnight clashes between residents and police in which dozens were injured, two senior officials and witnesses said.

Reuters journalists visited two dozen schools in Srinagar on Monday. Some schools were lightly staffed and classrooms deserted. Gates at other schools were locked. Only one student showed up at Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School, which has an enrolment of 1,000 pupils, and went home, said a school official. There were no students at the barricaded Burn Hall school in one of the city’s high security zones.

“How can students come to classes in such a volatile situation?” asked a teacher, among a handful of staff who turned up for work.

The scenic mountain region is divided between India, which rules the populous Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region around Jammu city, Pakistan, which controls a wedge of territory in the west, and China, which holds a thinly populated high-altitude area in the north. More than 50,000 people have died in the revolt that erupted against Indian rule in Kashmir in 1989.