R S Pura border (Jammu): Villagers in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir live under constant fear that frequent ceasefire violations would terminate the decade old truce agreement, putting their lives in peril.
“We live under constant fear of death. We don't know when a mortar bomb shell fired by Pakistani forces could hit and kill us,” said Om Prakash, a resident of Karotona Khurd.
“We want ceasefire initiated by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003 to stay, so that we can live in peace. In the last two years, there has been a massive spike in ceasefire violations that have made our life hell,” Preetu Devi of Abdullian village said.
Prakash, who had a close shave after a 82-mm mortar bomb shell tore open the roof-top of his house and landed in his room, said, “we are rattled by frequent shelling and firing by Pakistani forces. The villagers are at their wit's end and they fear that the border truce would collapse, putting their lives in peril.”
Harnam Singh (40) and Rani Devi (43) of the Vidipur village, located barely 2 kms away from IB and Ajay (20) of Karotona Khurd, however, could not escape the violence as splinters of shells injured them Thursday night. In the neighbouring village of Jora Farm, the pall of gloom descended on the Gujjar community dominated border hamlet, where a mortar bomb brutally killed Akram Hussain and his 13-year-old son Aslam while three other persons were injured.
The residents of 27 border hamlets along the IB have either migrated or were evacuated, leaving behind one or two members of each family to take care of their house and cattle. “We have sent our entire families to safe shelters set up by the government in R S Pura. We stayed back to take care of our homes and cattle,” Hans Raj of Abdullian village said, adding that the condition of most of the villages close to the IB was similar.
Jammu's border belt of R S Pura and Arnia has been turned into a battle zone. Pakistan Rangers have targeted over 30-40 BoPs and over 20 odd villages during 16 ceasefire violations in past 12 days, drawing strong retaliation from BSF.
Dressed in battle fatigues and bullet proof jackets, jawans of the Border Security Force criss-cross through their Posts and Ditch Cum Bandh (DCBs) ready to retaliate strongly. “We are giving a befitting reply. The moral of Jawans is high”, BSF officer Vinood Yadav said, adding that troops have been alerted in view of the vicious design of Pak Rangers.
Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), R S Pura, Devender Singh, who is supervising the evacuation, said that firing has been going on for past 12 days ceaselessly. Three people have been killed, 15 injured including 6 jawans in the ceasefire violations, shelling and firing by Pak troops along Indo-Pak border in past fortnight.
“We have made arrangements for safe shelters for the border people. They have been shifted at put in schools and ITI here,” Tehsildar, R S Pura, Manoj Kumar said. The Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Shant Manu said that 3,000 people from various border villages have been evacuated and shifted in safe shelters till today.