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Wedding season on LoC and IB affected owing to Pak ceasefire violations
2/12/2018 10:49:39 PM
As a result of frequent ceasefire violations which includes targeting civilian houses, in which many get either killed or injured, wedding season has come and gone but hardly there were any celebrations or weddings were solemnized. In fact the month of February is normally a time of celebration in Rajouri. The wedding season kicks off in December and lasts till March. The period is considered auspicious. But this time, wedding plans have been put off in 10 villages in the line of fire. All talk of weddings has given way to demands for concrete bunkers and bullet-proof ambulances. The death of six civilians and devastation of 66 houses between May 2017 and January 2018 has forced locals to demand a "permanent solution" to Pakistani shelling. In response, the administration has set up concrete bunkers for individual families. Each shelter measures 80 sq.ft. and can accommodate eight persons. So far, 72 such bunkers have been constructed in the border areas and more are being planned. Community bunkers - measuring 800 sq feet - are also being constructed to accommodate around 40 people. The bunkers are expected to withstand the 120 mm shells fired from across the border. Though a section of people, bruised and inconvenienced, by Pakistani Army ceasefire violations have accepted the Government offer for accommodation in bunkers but majority of people, living on this side of the LoC and the IB, want alternate places where they could be allotted small portions of land for construction of small dwellings at safer places. They believe that bunkers constructed on the border cannot be safe and that is the reason for them to seek alternate dwellings at safer places. Years ago the Central Government had suggested to the state authorities to identify and acquire land at safer places on this side of the IB and the LoC but the project was not implemented because of marked improvement in the situation.
The frequent ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops has kicked up a situation in which several thousand people, living on this side of the IB and the LoC, have been forced to migrate to safer places forcing the Government to organize camps for them. All 392 houses of Khamba village in Nowshera tehsil of Rajouri, spread over 3,671.4 hectares and home to 1,754 people, are vulnerable to shelling from across the border. On February 7, the wedding of Indu Lal's son saw only 25 baratis (guests) heading to the bride's place. "From 2003 till 2014, when it was mostly peaceful between India and Pakistan, the weddings would attract not less than 250 guests. Those days are gone now," recalled Jeet Kumar, a resident. Kumar vividly remembers the shelling of May 14, 2017, which triggered a major wave of migration from Nowshera's villages of Khamba, Sarya, Bhawani, Manpur, and Dhanka. Authorities in Islamabad know it that on the Indian side of the LoC and the IB border villagers are busy in farming. And take the instance of R.S. Pura, Samba, Suchetgarh and adjoining areas they are considered as rice bowl for the state and R.S. Pura is one such sector from where superior Basmati is exported. And Pakistani Army know it well that ceasefire violations do affect farming which would not only weaken the income of the farmers but create added food scarcity.
Pakistan sponsored proxy war is not confined to ceasefire violations on the LoC and on the IB but its trained militants continue to attack Army and Police camps and stations killing local policemen and eliminating soldiers which has derailed peace. Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, is right when she says that terror strikes on the Army camps or police posts and stations affect the pace of development of the state and this time she has been upset over the Sunjwan incident where two terrorists, belonging to JeM, attacked the Army camp and hence she condemned the incident instead of supporting bilateral dialogue. She knows it well that when a fortified Army camp where family quarters have been built, is not safe how was it possible to ensure safety of political leaders and bureaucrats ? That should have been the reason for a senior NC leader, Akbar Lone, to shout pro-Pakistan slogans on the floor of the Assembly. He did it to strengthen his vote bank and ensure his safety. But he seems to have forgotten that while filing the nomination papers for contesting the election Lone should have signed the form as an Indian and as such it was shameful on his part to shout pro-Pakistan slogans. And rightly Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have dissociated them selves from Lone's statement.
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