Rajouri: Uneasy calm prevails in and around Bhata Dhurian and Nar Khas forests, which have been the epicentre of encounter that lasted almost three weeks, in Mendhar sub-division of Poonch district.
Although the stretch of National Highway between Bhimber Gali to Jarran Wali Gali was opened after 19 days and the market in Bhata Dhurian, Tota Gali too started functioning but the fear-psychosis persisted.
The people prefer not to go out or travel in the evening. Nar Khas forests are calm but the burnt trees present a dreadful spectre.
The Nar Khas forest pocket, falling under Bhata Dhurian village, has a dense cover of pine trees with the base vegetation of shrubs. This was the epicentre of security setup in the last three weeks after an encounter broke out in the area on October 14 in which four army personnel were killed.
The anti militancy operation continued for nineteen days and highway stretch between Bhimber Gali to Jarran Wali Gali also remained closed. It was opened on Sunday while the cordon from the area was lifted on Monday afternoon.
The dense forest cover witnessed one of the longest anti militancy operation in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. The operation, which started on October 14, continued till Sunday amid exchange of gunfire between two sides using small arms at regular intervals. The weaponry of heavy calibre too rattled the area for days together.
Although the operation has now been called off and cordon from the area has been lifted but uneasy calm still persists.
“On Monday, we opened our shops after an interval of 18 days and resumed our business,” S A Khan, a shopkeeper of area said.
He added, “Usual hustle-bustle is still not there. The people still don’t prefer to visit the area around encounter site unless there is some urgent work.”
“Our children, who never witnessed firing and big explosions that rattled the area, have yet to come out of fear psychosis," Javid Iqbal, a villager said.
“Dilwali is round the corner. Whenever our children hear sound of crackers, they mistake it with firing and ask parents to hide in shelters,” Javid further said.
V K Sharma, a man from Rajouri, said, “Although authorities have cleared the highway for traffic but people are still in a state of shock and fear.”