A Ceasefire and a Dream | LoC villagers say silent guns paved way for development, call for its continuity

A Ceasefire and a Dream | LoC villagers say silent guns paved way for development, call for its continuity
GK Photo

Rajouri, Mar 10: The silence of guns on the Line of Control (LoC) due to the ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani soldiers for the last two years has brought in an era of peace with people living in villages along the heavily-guarded LoC terming this peaceful time as a dream coming true.

They have called for continuity of ceasefire stating that peace was the basic need of every human being and now they could see life aspects other than braving shells that used to be a routine at the time of ceasefire violations and cross-LoC shelling.

The LoC ceasefire was agreed upon by India and Pakistan in February 2021 after which a situation of calm has been prevailing on the Line of Control, along with the International Border (IB).

Official figures also reveal that not a single incident of violation of ceasefire from Pakistani side had been registered in the last two years and the first week of March.

This ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan completed two years on February 23 with people living along the LoC being the prime beneficiaries of this truce.

In Niaka village of Rajouri, civilian population is now able to live life without the fear of death due to mortar shells, rocket launchers, or bullets that were a routine at the times of ceasefire violations.

“For four years, our family was thinking of building a new house. However, we were not able to construct the new house, as ceasefire violations in the area were a regular feature," said Ibrar Ahmad Kohli, a youth from Niaka village.

Niaka village in Rajouri is India's last village ahead of LoC in Tarkundi sector.

This village has seen intense shelling during ceasefire violations in the past.

Two women from the village also lost their lives in 2017 after a mortar shell hit their house.

Kohli said that earlier due to ceasefire violation no mason or labourer used to work in the village as remaining under the open sky during shelling was like an open invitation to death.

"Things now have changed due to the ceasefire. Now everyone is busy with their lives like people in other villages," he said.

Muhammad Yousuf, a social activist, said that things had improved to a major extent due to the ceasefire and everyone in the area wanted this peace pact to continue.

"Only we know the hardships that are faced during shelling. No one outside our villages can even think of the nightmare we used to have," Yousuf said.

Muhammad Nazir, 41, who lives in the last hamlet on the LoC termed the ceasefire as a dream come true for the people of this border area.

"We always dreamt of a dignified life without fear of death, without bangs of mortar shelling, without explosions, without bullets, and a life in which we can send our children to schools without fear, in which we can work in our fields without fear and a life in which we can sleep inside our houses without thinking of dying due to a mortar shell landing on us," he said.

He said that the people living in villages along the LoC including Ratti Mitti, Chiti Bakri, Niaka, Chamba, Panjgrian, and Peryali were poor and faced a severe crisis of basic amenities like road connectivity, water supply, electrification, schooling, healthcare.

However, the first thing that people want is peace, which only the silence of guns amid ceasefire can bring.

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