People in border areas fear Pakistan may target civilians

By: |
Arnia | Updated: September 30, 2016 7:47:11 PM

In the wake of the surgical strikes across the Line of Control by the Indian Army, fear has gripped villagers living in border areas as they apprehend that Pakistan may target civilian areas.

An Indian army soldier rides in the back of a truck near the highly militarized Line of Control dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, in Akhnoor, some 62 kilometers from Jammu. (AP)An Indian army soldier rides in the back of a truck near the highly militarized Line of Control dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, in Akhnoor, some 62 kilometers from Jammu. (AP)

In the wake of the surgical strikes across the Line of Control by the Indian Army, fear has gripped villagers living in border areas as they apprehend that Pakistan may target civilian areas.

The villagers, who live close to the International Border, have always been bearing the burnt of cross-border ceasefire violations.

“We are a worried lot. Even though we are happy that Army conducted this surgical strike to eliminate terrorists across the Line of Control, but we are concerned that Pakistan might once again target the civilian areas here to avenge the surgical strikes,” former Sarpanch of the village said.

Though the administration in the Jammu region has made “elaborate preparations” to counter any contingency and shift the people living in the vicinity of the LoC and IB to safer places, yet the residents fear that escalation between India and Pakistan would affect their livelihood.

“Majority of the people here are farmers and earn their livelihood by it, but if the tension between the two sides escalate we might end up losing our only source of income,” Lal said.

The authorities have asked villagers to shift to “safer locations” in case there is a “crisis situation” along the border.

However, the people feel it difficult to leave their homes.

Similarly, in RS Pura sector of Jammu district, the situation is not different.

People are worried of the escalation between the neighbouring countries and they fear it might affect their livelihood as the harvesting season is at its peak.

“Though the administration has informed us to remain cautious and whenever there is contingency they must shift to the safer locations, but majority of the people want to stay back in their homes as the farming season is at its peak right now,” a farmer of the Bera village Narinder Singh voiced his concern.

Authorities have kept Bana Singh Stadium ready to accommodate 1,000 people in case of any emergency.

Last night, over 100 people took shelter in the stadium.

“Over 100 people took shelter here and in the morning and except the female members and children all the male members returned to their houses. Right now we are taking care of the female members and the children by providing them food and shelter. The administration has made all preparations for their stay here,” Manager of the stadium Baljinder Pal Singh said.

Majority of the people who have taken shelter at the stadium come from Jora Farm village situated on the Zero Line which has reported casualties in the past in cross border firing.

Shameema Bi, a resident of the village, says they have also brought cattle with them, as, she says, in the past they have not only lost people but the livestock as well in firing by Pakistan.

“We will stay here until the authorities tell us that situation has improved,” she said.

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