Villagers near LoC, used by ISI, totally changed now

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Line of Control (LoC), Kashmir, Nov 12 (UNI) Once being used by the Pakistan's ISI in militant activities in Kashmir because of their poverty and neglect, people of village Gohalan near here are totally changed now, thanks to Army who adopted it and made it a model village.

Gohalan, now a model village on the LoC, which was reduced to rubble in October 2005 devastating earthquake, was inaugurated by Chief of the Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor yesterday.

Uri, now the hub of activities after the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road was reopened for travel and trade after more than six decades, has a number of small villages located along the LoC.

A defence ministry spokesman said a number of villages are under direct domination of Pakistani Army posts where the ISI has often taken advantage in subverting the gullible villagers and using them as tool for proxy war.

However, village Gohalan, located 4 kms from Uri, at an altitude of 6,500 feet and barely one km from the LoC, is dominated by Gujjars who earn their living by cattle rearing and farming.

The village has been a saga of neglect, poverty and mismanagement even after the six decade of liberation, he said, adding deeply exploited for insurgency, the village hit its lowest when it was struck by the devastating earthquake.

He said the village always lacked proper infrastructure, including electricity, water supply, basic public amenities and connectivity.

We have to walk for hours to reach the nearest road head at Jabla, the villagers said.

He said this remoteness and neglect was taken as an opportunity by the ISI agents in luring a large chunk of population to cross borders and play into their hands.

This, he said, completely destroyed the basic fabric and the identity of the villagers with the result Gohalan, which once was known for its picturesque beauty and innocence, found mention in the category of ''black villages'' in Uri sector, meriting urgent attention.

However, October 8,2005 proved the darkest day for the village when it was struck by a devastating earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, demolishing almost the entire village leaving as many as 30 people dead, several injured and rendering scores homeless.

Concerned over the sufferings of the villager, General Kapoor, who was then Army Commander, Northern command ordered adoption of such villages with an underlined aim of assuaging the suffering of people and to reverse the exodus on the LoC.

He said the aim of adoption of these villages near LoC was to make them model villages.

It goes to the credit of the Indian Army who in conjunction with civil administration and local villagers has transformed the remote, infertile, rugged and totally barren area into a model village.

The village have now all the facilities.

UNI BAS QAB SY BD1430

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