India Pakistan border: Cross border shelling between Indian Army and Pakistani troops is a common affair in Jammu and Kashmir. People residing in areas adjacent to border and Line of Control are habituated with the threat of death. But they have also acquired the skills to survive the enemy bullets. Degwar is a village in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. This is a very crucial area as this is the last village in Poonch and Pakistan Army posts in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) are not very far away. People in this village have become familiar with the enemy mortar shelling. “When we venture out of our houses in the morning, we do not know if we will return home in the evening,” a villager was quoted as saying by Indian Express. “Small arms fire is mostly directed at the Army posts these days so we can just hunker down and be safe. It is the mortars that are deadly,” another villager says. Life is not easy in Degwar as death threat looms large always. However, people are willing to live with that fear with a hope of surviving the inevitable. “I have lived here all my life, I will die here,” a village woman says with a beatific smile.
It has been learnt that Degwar was split into two in the 1948 hostilities between India and Pakistan and most villagers have their relatives on the other side of the LoC. “Right now the situation is not as bad as on the International Border with Jammu because the civilian population here has not been targeted. But for how long,” wondered a villager. “You never know when they may open fire. It is not necessary that mortar fire will be preceded by small arms fire. They just open up with 120 mm mortars all of a sudden,” a senior Army officer spoke on the condition of anonymity.
On January 19 two security forces jawans and as many civilians were killed and 35 others injured in mortar shelling by the Pakistani troops on civilian areas and BoPs along the International Border and the LoC in four districts of Jammu and Kashmir. “The Pakistani Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing by small arms, automatics weapons and mortars from 1830 hours in Sunderbani sector (in Rajouri district) along the Line of Control (LOC). Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively,” an army officer said.
A few months ago, Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control and shelled civilian hamlets and forward posts in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. This had prompted a strong retaliation from the Indian Army. The year 2017 has seen a sharp increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan, accoridng to reports.