Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called upon Pakistan to "respect the sentiments" associated with Ramzan and end ceasefire violations along the border, as she met the affected people in the frontier areas.
Twelve people including two minor children and two BSF jawans were killed and over 60 people were injured due to shelling by Pakistan troops along the border in Jammu, Samba and Kathua in nine days, where over one lakh people have migrated from the IB. However, there has been a lull in the firing for two days.
The halt of security operations during Ramzan by the Centre "has led the people of the state to heave a sigh of relief," the chief minister said, adding Pakistan should respond positively by bringing peace on the border.
She reminded the people that complete peace prevailed along the borders for more than a decade after the ceasefire in 2003 and appealed to the leadership of Pakistan to respect the sentiments associated with the holy month of Ramzan.
Mehbooba Mufti visited the border areas of R S Pura, Samba and other places of Jammu province which have been severely hit by the cross border shelling during the past few days.
She interacted with the affected people, who apprised her of their difficulties. The minister for Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction and Disaster Management, Javed Mustafa Mir, accompanied the chief minister during the visit.
In R S Pura, she met the affected people who have taken shelter at the local ITI, Chakroi Farm and Satarian.
Interacting with the people, the chief minister said she was deeply distressed and anguished due to the continued flare up on the borders and sought an immediate end to it "to save the people of border areas from more losses of life, property and peace".
Responding to the demands of the locals, Mehbooba Mufti announced that her government would examine the issue of raising a battalion of JK Police comprising of youths exclusively from border areas.
She also assured them that her government would look into their demand of bringing people living in areas along International Border (IB) on a par with those of LoC areas in terms of facilities and other incentives.
The chief minister also said that steps would be taken to construct Border Bhawans in urban areas where they can stay during the difficult times.
She said her government has already got the loss to livestock included in the compensation package by the Centre.
Responding to other demands, Mehbooba Mufti said the local hospital at R S Pura would have more facilities in terms of equipment and manpower and also the local veterinary unit would be upgraded.
The minister for PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control, Sham Choudhary, and MLA Gagan Bhagat were also present.
Later, the chief minister visited Samba and interacted with the people from border areas at Thandi Khui and Chichi Mata Mandir.
Here also, the people raised similar demands.
The chief minister said that she will look into the issue of late settlement of compensation cases and ensure early resolution.
The minister for Health & Medical Education, Devinder Manyal, was present.
The chief minister gave away Rs one lakh each to the kin of those killed in cross-border shelling in these areas. This is in addition to the ex-gratia extended to them by the Jammu Divisional administration.
(With PTI inputs)