Villagers displaced from India's Line of Control return after eight years

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Poonch, Feb 23 (ANI): Around 300 villagers of Deri village, near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, who had fled their homes to escape Pakistani shelling in 2002, have returned after assurances from security forces.

Pakistani forces fired shells on the Indian villages near the Line of Control in June 2002, forcing villagers to flee.

Thousands of villagers along the borders have left for safer places in the wake of tensions repeatedly flaring up between India and Pakistan.

Returning to their respective homes after a gap of eight years, the villagers of Deri say they are thankful to the security forces and the central government, which has been looking after them.

"We migrated to safer places due to Pakistan's shelling in the year 2002. But now, we have reached home safely and are looking after our kids. Now we are settled in our own houses," said Bagh Hussain, a villager.

"In 2002, we migrated from our village to safer places elsewhere. Today, we are living in our houses. The Indian soldiers have behaved very nicely with us in the times of crisis like this and we are thankful to them," said Mohammad Taj, another villager.

The two sides had staged daily artillery duels since a deadly raid on an Indian Army camp in mid-May, 2002.

Some 700,000 Indian troops have been locked in an eye-to-eye confrontation with 300,000 Pakistani troops since an attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001. (ANI)

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