Press Trust of india

Calm take roots at LoC as renewed ceasefire completes year

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Uri: Children play without fear and farmers tend their fields here without any threat of shells as they mark a year of peace and calm after the Indian and Pakistan armies reiterated the ceasefire on this day a year ago.

The surprise reiteration of the ceasefire agreement by the two neighbours from the midnight of February 24 last year came as a huge relief to the people of Uri near the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir, who otherwise lived in constant fear and bore the maximum brunt of the animosity between the two countries.

While the security establishment, too, has heaved a sigh of relief and expressed happiness over the ceasefire holding up, it is actually the people – the residents near the line of the divide — who appreciate and realise the true meaning of the guns falling silent.

“We know what the ceasefire actually means to us. We lived under constant fear for many years, but for the past year, we lived peacefully in our villages along with our children,” Qazi Sheikh, a local, said.

He said the ceasefire has provided an opportunity to the villagers to carry out their activities without any fear of explosions rocking their neighbourhood.

“Explosions and shelling used to be the order of the day, and we lived under constant fear day and night. Now, we roam freely, and go on with our life happily,” Sheikh said.

He was of the opinion that the ceasefire be made a permanent feature and both the countries must talk peace.

“We hope the ceasefire continues. We want both the countries to maintain peace. We have suffered for long and we want to live our life normally and peacefully now,” he said.

Romana Irshad, a Class II student and a resident of Garkote in Uri, said, “We can now play in open fields because of the ceasefire. Otherwise, due to fear, we used to play in our rooms. We study with a free mind without the sound of explosions in the background.”

Sheikh said the ceasefire has not only saved lives but their properties as well.

“We hope the ceasefire holds so we could see our farms prosper once again,” Shera, a farmer, said.

Last month, the General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army’s 15 Corps or the Chinar Corps, Lt Gen D P Pandey, said the ceasefire along the LoC in Kashmir was holding and the Army would like it to continue for the benefit of the people on either side of the divide.

“The Army would like the ceasefire to continue only for the benefit of the people of Kashmir so that there is free movement for trade, for farming, business and schooling. So that they (the people of Kashmir on both sides) can live a life of a common citizen while the peace remains. That is the major benefit which has gone to them,” the GoC had said.

However, he said, the Army was very carefully on the watch “because the enemy is very very devious”.

According to the official figures, there were 4,645 ceasefire violations in 2020, 3,168 in 2019 and 1,629 in 2018. In 2020, till the agreement came into effect, there were 592 ceasefire violations.

The security forces have attributed the less infiltration attempts from across the LoC in the past year to the ceasefire as well.

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