Reyaz Rashid

URI: Sacred to return home, displaced residents demand alternative land, bunkers

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Displaced by heavy firing along LoC, these Uri residents share space in a school building. Photo/Kashmir Images

Uri, Feb 25: With constant fear of cross-border haunting them, displaced villagers living in schools-turned-into-camps at Uri are scared of returning to their homes.

They demand immediate sanction of the “promised” piece of land in safer zones for their settlement and construction of bunkers for safety.

The demands were made by displaced families putting up at makeshift camp inside the Government Higher Secondary School Uri, set up by the State government here for border dwellers who have been bearing the brunt of heavy cross-LoC shelling for the past few days.

Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Abdul Haq Khan together with NC leader Dr. Sajad Shafi Uri , DC Baramulla and SSP Baramulla visited the makeshift camps today to assess the situation of residents.

"What we are getting is only hollow promises and unabated firing and shelling from last many years. The government needs to act and provide us the promised five ‘marlas’ of land away from the firing zone for our safety,” said Lal Din, Sarpnach of Churanda village.

“How long have we to bear this burnt? Both India and Pakistan need to settle the issue once for all. Our life has become hell,” he added.

“You can’t imagine how we saved ourselves. We are living a life of uncertainty with no future. During firing, we are even unable to help our children to move to safety,” Muzzafar Ahmed of Sailikote said.

They said they had been promised five marlas plots (1361.25 sq ft) during previous election campaign.

However, last year, the government informed the Legislative Assembly that it had decided to construct bunkers in border districts instead of allotting five marlas of land to each family as shifting of population to another place would not be in the interest of the state or the nation.

“Our first and foremost demand is that government should set up individual bunkers in each of the border house if we have to live again along the LoC. This is the demand of the LoC people,” said Irshad Ahmed of Balkote Uri. “We need bunkers more than food!”

Sarpanch of Churanda said, “If all the residents get individual bunkers at their homes, no one will leave the LoC hamlets no matter how worse Pakistan may shell us.”

He demanded that a chunk of land should be provided to the LoC dwellers to build safe places.

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