Line of Misfortune
Separated in 1971, two brothers from Turtuk haven’t seen their parents
DR RAJA MUZAFFAR BHAT
Mohammad Ali, just 5 when Indian Army captured his village “Thang” located in Nobra valley near Turtuk block of Ladakh during 1971 India-Pakistan war. Till 1971 Thang was part of Gilgit Baltistan province which is located near famous Askardu city in Pakistan.
Recently I was in Ladakh area in connection with some official work and I met Mohammad Ali through one of my friends, Ghulam Hussain, a social activist who also hails from Nubra valley. Mohammad Ali and his brother Ahmad Shah were just 5 and 3 years of age respectively in 1971 when Indian military personnel reached Thang and the village fell into territorial jurisdiction of India after being captured from Pakistan, but the tragedy was that Ali’s parents including grandmother had gone to nearby Franu village (which is under control of Pakistan) in connection with some domestic work and the young children where left at home with the grandfather and when they tried to come back a bloody line “LOC” had been drawn till then thus separating little ones from their parents and grandma. The grandfather tried a lot to ensure his son, daughter-in-law and wife could come back but they couldn’t make it. As on date Mohammad Ali who is now 45 and his brother 43 years of age haven’t seen their father, mother and other siblings, who were born after 1971. The grandma also expired without seeing her husband (Ali’s grandfather) and vice versa
“If my parents would have died I and my brother would not have felt this much pain but we know our parents are alive and live in nearby Franu village but we are not able to meet them because of the bloody line drawn by two mighty powers. We can see the people in Franu village at a distance but cannot meet them as soldiers won’t allow us to go ahead towards LOC and this is what makes us mad and this has been the biggest issue for us since last four decades. I know my father, mother and brothers are in Franu just a kilometer away from my village but I cannot communicate with them, my life has become hell since my childhood and same is the case with my brother who lives with me here” said Mohammad Ali with tears in his eyes.
We have heard lot about Srinagar-Muzaffarabad , Poonch-Rawlakot bus service but nobody talks about our village, Mohammad Ali told me. He appealed media, especially the documentary film makers to visit his village and make a film on such humanitarian issues. Ali hoped that at least some meeting point should be thrown open in our village on the pattern of Teetwal, in Tangdar where people living across the LOC meet each other on some fixed days. The Government of India can start bus service between Turtuk and other areas located across LOC but we know it is going to take years at least till then the meeting point can be thrown open Ali added.
It is not only Mohammad Ali’s case but there are dozens of such stories in whole Nubra valley especially in Taksi, Turtuk, Choulungkha and Thang villages. There are cases where in husband lives in Pakistan controlled area and wife lives here in Indian controlled area, children live in Pakistani area and parents live here. There are interesting stories also; father has been working in Pakistani Army and son works with Indian Army. The worst part of all this sad story is that not a single legislator from Nubra has ever raised these human issues in the state assembly
It is urged upon the Governments of both the countries to shun their differences and work towards betterment of people of both the areas. If all the traditional routes are opened across LOC and the International border it will be one of the biggest confidence building measures (CBM). Leaders living in New Delhi or Islamabad cannot understand the pain of Mohammad Ali or other families like him, they must come out of their cozy rooms and visit these areas so that something concrete is done to address these human issues.
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Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST
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