A day after four local residents were killed in the LoC firing at Uri, an eerie calm prevailed here on Saturday. The relatives of the slain residents are thronging at their residence to pay homage, at the same time cursing their fortune for being residents of villages close to the line of control.
“Every year we become the victims of skirmishes between the two countries. The only government support we have is the makeshift camp situated in Uri town, where we are served free Dal Roti after our blood is spilled,” said Fida Hussain, while travelling to Balkote Uri to visit the family of a woman relative killed during the ceasefire violation on Friday.
Four civilians and five soldiers were killed during firing by Pakistani troops on the LoC in north Kashmir on Friday. Army said it killed eight Pakistani soldiers.
Legs of a resident were amputated after he was hit with splinters of a mortar shell. The exchange of shelling was reported in all the sectors of Uri, which include Hajipeer, Kamalkote, Maya and Lachipora. Several residential houses besides cowsheds were damaged.
Farooqa Begum, 30, was killed when a mortar shell fell on her house in Balkote village. The slain woman is survived by her husband and five kids. The youngest kid is Rutba, a 17-month old baby. In village Gohalan, the death of 8-year old boy, Afrar Ahmad, has left the residents shellshocked.
“He died on the spot after being hit by splinters,” said Ashiq Ahmad, a local resident.
The local residents while blaming the J&K administration for their plight said that casualties could have been avoided had authorities constructed underground bunkers for the local residents here, like they have built for several border areas in Jammu division. “There is hope for survival only when underground bunkers are constructed,” said Muhammad Ashraf, resident of Churanda village.
The administration has sanctioned 40 community bunkers for the villagers residing close to the line of control. These bunkers will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 20 lakhs each. However, so far authorities have initiated work on only 20 bunkers.
“The underground bunkers are important for the safety of the lives of local people. Around 20 bunkers are being constructed at present and work on others too will be initiated soon,” said Riyaz Ahmad, SDM Uri.