Border residents in Jammu areas sleepless over fresh India, Pak tension

Border residents in Jammu areas sleepless over fresh India, Pak tension

The border tension and exchange of firing between Indian and Pakistani soldiers has added to the difficulties of life for the residents during the ongoing harsh winter.

Residents living along the international border with Pakistan in Jammu and the adjoining areas along the Line of Control have been experiencing sleepless nights since the beginning of the New Year when border tension started mounting. 

The border tension and exchange of firing between Indian and Pakistani soldiers has added to the difficulties of life for the residents during the ongoing harsh winter.

Intermittent but slowly escalating exchange of shelling and firing between the rivals in the southern border areas of Jammu and Kashmir has been going on for about two weeks now. 

Samba-Hiranagar sector, where a Border Security Force (BSF) Assistant Commandant was killed in a sniper attack on Wednesday, is the most affected part of the IB.

Villages along the LoC also experienced tension since December 31 due to continuous ceasefire violations, BAT actions and IED explosions claiming lives of soldiers and civilian porters.

The situation has already pushed residents of some villages along the IB to migrate to safer places.

“So far our villages have not faced Pakistani bullets, but we might see it happen soon,” said Sumit Sharma, a villager from R S Pura that witnessed maximum civilian killings during last year’s border firing.

Sharma’s family has already migrated out and is living in a rented home in Miran Sahib area.

“We have fled our homes several times in the past few decades and before that during wars. It is now a routine for us as border people live in the jaws of death. You never know what is going to happen the next moment,” Sharma said.

The border villagers accuse the government of failing to address their situation with seriousness.

“Land at safer places is the only alternative to save border people from these migrations,” said Sumit Kumar, a resident of Arnia town near the IB.

“Bunkers are still under construction and prone to major mishaps without doors and other required things, but more importantly we want plots at a safe place as promised to us several years ago.”

Residents of Nowshera, Lam, Sabjian, Mendher and Bhimber along the LoC also rue government’s failure to start construction on individual and community bunkers.

Over 14,000 bunkers were approved to be constructed at a cost of Rs 415.73 crore for border residents facing Pakistani shelling in Jammu division. However, construction was started only along areas of IB.

“We are now tired of hearing big announcements regarding sanction of bunkers from central ministers and local BJP leaders but on ground zero construction work is yet to begin in Rajouri frontier district,” said Mohammad Ramzan, a border resident of Nowshera.

“Snowfall and winters make our lives already difficult at the border, and in absence of bunkers there is to hide during firings.”