Rising tension fuels fear among villages near LoC
People pray for calm amid impasse
The looming impasse has increased fears among the villagers living close to the LoC of a repeat of situations in 1990s and early 2000s when daily shelling was a routine affair. Reports from the frontier villages of Poonch in Jammu and Uri and Tanghdar in Kashmir said people have started taking shelter in underground bunkers.
The inhabitants of nearly a dozen villages close to the Hajipeer sector—where on January 6 Indian troops allegedly violated ceasefire and attacked a Pakistani post, killing a Pakistani soldier—are worried over the fate of LoC ceasefire, which has been in effect since November 2003, reports added.
|Fresh exchange of fire rock LoC in Poonch, infiltration|
“We fear that we will face the worst situation again if the ceasefire breaks. We take shelter in the ground floor of our house or bunkers due to the fear of shelling,” he added.
People living close to the LoC used to hide in bunkers when the two armies were firing mortars and shells at each other before the 2003 ceasefire.
However, following the ceasefire agreement between the two countries, life has been peaceful until now.
Ahmad, whose son was severely injured in cross-border firing in 2011, said they don’t want to see the repetition of the “deadly past.”
He said the villagers near the LoC pray for things to get normal soon “so we can continue to lead a peaceful life.”
According to Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla Khwaja Ghulam Ahmad, under the contingency plan, the government “can shift people living in shelling-prone areas along the LoC to safe locations.
“People living at zero line have already been paid money to construct bunkers for their safety. The Government of India had paid Rs 15,000 to each family to construct underground bunkers. However, unfortunately after receiving the money, most of the people have not constructed the bunkers,” he said.
Meanwhile, situation on the LoC and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir remained tense for the seventh consecutive day on Saturday amid reports of intermittent exchange of fire and ceasefire violations.
“The situation along the LoC is tense. Sometimes they (Pakistani troops) fire on our positions to which we retaliate,” a senior army officer told Deccan Herald. The Krishna Ghatti Sector in the Poonch district of Jammu, where Pakistani troops killed two Indian soldiers and reportedly chopped off their heads, continues to be a hot spot.
A local resident in the Mendhar area of Poonch told Deccan Herald on the phone that firing went on throughout the night. “However, the firing stopped in the morning. Since then there has been calm,” he said.
Sources said there was no report of any casualty or damage on either side of the LoC since Friday. After the suspension of the cross LoC bus service between J&K and PoK on Friday, the fate of 58 Indian and 65 Pakistani passengers was uncertain.