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news details
Rs 5 lakh to live, Rs 5 lakh on death: That's life at the India-Pak border
5/24/2018 11:02:39 PM
Agencies

NEW DELHI, May 24: Pakistan is in no mood to honour the ceasefire that was announced during the holy month of Ramzan. Repeated incidents of unprovoked firing and shelling have been reported over the past 10 days, with the latest as recent as Wednesday night.
Such incidents have forced civilians living in villages along the India-Pakistan border to abandon their homes. On Wednesday, five civilians including a 10-year-old boy were killed and 14 others were injured as Pakistani troops rained mortars and opened heavy fire on Indian villages and posts along the International Border (IB) and LoC in Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Rajouri districts of Jammu region.
Thousands have been forced to leave their villages in the last few days to stay alive.
Shelled by Pakistani troops for the past nine days, the bustling Arnia border town and nearly 120 border hamlets along the border wear a deserted look, with thousands fleeing to escape heavy shelling of mortar bombs.
Some of them have moved to safe shelters run by the government. Several camps have been set up in Kathua, Samba and Jammu district to house border migrants and provide them food. Several community kitchens are being run to provide food to them.
To shield people from the shelling, the government is building about 14,000 large community bunkers in the five border districts in J&K - Samba, Poonch, Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri. Ironically, the average cost of building a bunker in which up to 40 people can take refuge to escape is Rs 5 lakh - the same amount that is granted as compensation for civilian victims of cross-border firing.
Located five kilometres from the International Border (IB), Arnia town, with a population of over 18,500, resembles a ghost town with only a few people and some cops left each in its adjoining hamlets to take care of animals and guard homes against thefts.
The life of border dwellers along the IB has been silenced as farming, schooling, cattle rearing and everything else on which border dwellers survive have come to a halt due to the shelling episodes.
Pakistan Rangers started shelling areas along the IB on May 15 and until now 12 people, including at least 10 civilians and two jawans, have been killed and over 60 people, including over 48 civilians, injured.
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