Line of (no) control

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Admin should listen to the woes of victims

Last week was horrible for those living along Line of Control (LoC) in northern parts of Kashmir. Though their geographical location has all along been a curse for them as they have been living under perpetual threat given the hostilities between India and Pakistan, the last week’s incidents have come as a shocking reminder that their days of agony are here to stay. Four civilians including four civilians including a woman and a child, four Army-men and a Sub Inspector (SI) of Broader Security Force (BSF) were killed while as 10 persons including five troopers sustained injuries after armies of India and Pakistan exchanged heavy artillery shelling and gunfire in frontier sectors across the LoC in north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts. Indian defence sources said that the shelling was triggered as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire and resorted to unprovoked fire. Scores of residential houses were extensively damaged leaving the inmates to shiver in the chilling cold of the winter. The situation is no better on the other side of the LoC. There also civilian lives and properties fell victim to the firing and shelling. While Indian and Pakistani governments will continue to blame each other, the civilians on both sides of the divide are paying heavy for being born in these cursed areas.

While one would appreciate that the armies of both the countries strictly adhere to the ceasefire agreement, the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory government need to have a sustainable and practicable plan of saving the lives and properties of its people living along LoC. People of Karnah, Tangdhar, Teetwal, Uri and other areas along LoC have been demanding construction of bunkers from years together. They want some shelters that could, atleast, help them to save their lives when bullets and shells rain over their dwellings from Pakistani side. Though the administration is always busy talking big about its concerns regarding the populace spread along the LoC, the ground situation suggests otherwise. Only a few days ahead of last week’s shelling, the people of Karnah and Tangdhar had made appeals to the Lt Governor regarding construction of bunkers. Therefore, while one would pray that the armies from both sides stop the occasional firing and shelling, the J&K administration needs to be ready to face any eventuality. It is therefore expected from the administration that it gears up the local authorities and sanctions construction of bunkers in all shelling prone areas. It is the government of the day that is responsible for the safety and security of its citizens and their properties. One would hope that Lt. Governor administration wakes up to save the lives and properties of these ‘children of lesser gods.’

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