Early Times Report
Srinagar, Mar 29: Hundreds of people in north Kashmir’s Uri sector fear for their lives these days. Not because of coronavirus but by constant shelling across the border.
As there is coronavirus scare, the disease that has gripped the world, claiming over 20,000 people across the world, hundreds of Uri residents in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district are fearing for their safety due to shelling across the Line of Control.
On Thursday when world was concerned over the coronavirus, residents of Uri from Hajipeer sector-which is close to LoC- were living with fear.
“There was heavy shelling on Thursday. No was able to move out of homes that day. Since then shelling still goes slowly. It is very unfortunate when countries are fighting against Covid-19, some people are fighting to each other with guns and bombs on LoC,” said Bashir Ahmad, a local.
A large number of cattle in border villages gets killed or injured whenever there is a ceasefire violation.
“Even if we manage to save ourselves, we are unable to save the animals,” he said.
Several locals either serve in the army or in the police force, while many others engage in farming and grazing of animals, like sheep and buffalo.
A senior official said shelling takes place in Hajipeer sector from across the LoC .
The Uri subdivision comprises around 1.25 lakh people; in case of any ceasefire violation, more than 40,000 people from border villages are directly affected. The town is surrounded by the LoC on three sides. Urusa, Silikote, Shoura, Churunda, Tilawari, Chakara, and villages from Hajipeer area — Budna, Alawadi, Kamalkote, Morthal, Dardkote, Ishem, and Gowalta — bear the brunt of the skirmishes between the two countries.
While residents have been demanding 30,000 bunkers, which can give them a safe place to hide during shelling or other calamities, the Uri administration had submitted a proposal some years back to construct bunkers. But nothing has been done so far.
Uri is 76 miles from Srinagar and 42 miles from Muzaffarabad. The mountainous region surprisingly doesn’t have dense shrubbery and the houses built on the hillocks on both sides of the border have small patches of land, which residents have turned into vegetable gardens. However, Pakistan Army on the other side of hillocks is just 200 metres away.
Fifteen years ago, in 2005, an earthquake rocked Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, a region where locals already live in fear, hanging on to their dear lives, amid sporadic shelling at the LoC.
After the earthquake, late president APJ Abdul Kalam, along with a group of Union ministers also visited Urusa village to take stock of the devastation.