2021: Some prevalence of peace along LoC, IB in Jammu & Kashmir

In 2003, India and Pakistan entered into a ceasefire agreement. This came a year after at least 8,376 incidents of shelling and firing by Pakistani troops were reported in 2002.
2021: Some prevalence of peace along LoC, IB in Jammu & Kashmir
The local population widely welcomed the agreement and Armies of both sides had said that they won’t fire a bullet. File/ GK

Srinagar: The year 2021 was one pleasant year for the people living along Line of Control and International Border as there was very rare cross border shelling.

In February India and Pakistan said that they had recommitted themselves to the 2003 ceasefire arrangement at the Line of Control and IB.

The surprise announcement was made in a joint statement by the militaries of the two countries on a ‘hotline contact’ between their Directors General Military operations (DGMOs). The conversation between Lt Gen Paramjit Sangha and Pakistani DGMO Maj Gen Nauman Zakaria was described as “free” and “frank” and held in a “cordial atmosphere”.

The local population widely welcomed the agreement and Armies of both sides had said that they won’t fire a bullet.

In 2003, India and Pakistan entered into a ceasefire agreement. This came a year after at least 8,376 incidents of shelling and firing by Pakistani troops were reported in 2002. The ceasefire was helpful for three years as no violation was reported till 2006.

India shares a 3,323-km border with Pakistan, of which 221 km of the international border and 740 km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir. “The violations were very rare,” a senior Army officer said, adding that there were almost no provocations. However, he said: “ When they tried to push in terrorists, they gave them cover.”

The officer said that they did not lower the guard despite the agreement. “ We were and are alert round the clock,” he said, adding that the unfenced area includes non-feasible stretches where fencing could not be constructed due to riverine and marshy land being covered through technological solutions.

Ministry of Home Affairs data reveals that 14,000 firing and ceasefire violations incidents occurred on the LoC and the International Border between India and Pakistan from 2010 to February 2021. “This year witnessed a tremendous downfall in the ceasefire violations,” MHA officials said. These officials said it was bringing a great sense of relief to the soldiers and border populations on both sides. “After witnessing over 5,100 incidents of ceasefire violations in 2020, the violations and killings at the border in Jammu and Kashmir this year was all-time low in the last more than a decade,” MHA officials said.

The people on the border were suffering from continuous shelling and firing across the LoC. The civilians living in exposed and vulnerable areas were the main victims of the shelling, because the shelling and firing was not hitting only Army installations but bombs dropped in the villages and populated areas killed innocent people, cattle, destroyed houses, stopped movement of natives, compelled them to take refuge in bunkers and houses, created harassment and tension and the habitants were not in a position to cultivate their lands, start commercial activities, attend institutions and neither they could organize social functions.

"This is not the first time a ceasefire was announced on the LoC. For us it is always good because we know what a ceasefire means to us. We can live peacefully in our villages along with our children," said Abul Rashid Ahmad Khawja who lives at village Garkote on the LoC in Uri Sector of Baramulla distrcit.

"In our neighbouring village Balkote, a young woman was killed last November when shells hit her house leaving her four children orphaned," he said adding ceasefire won’t bring more misieries now. “We are praying for that.”