Border area villagers fear ceasefire violations will end truce

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Border area villagers fear ceasefire violations will end truce
R S Pura border (Jammu), Aug 23: Villagers in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir live under constant fear that frequent ceasefire violations would terminate the decade old truce agreement, putting their lives in peril. "We live under constant fear of death.

We don't know when a mortar bomb shell fired by Pakistani forces could hit and kill us," said Om Prakash, a resident of Karotona Khurd. "We want ceasefire initiated by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003 to stay, so that we can live in peace. In the last two years, there has been a massive spike in ceasefire violations that have made our life hell," Preetu Devi of Abdullian village said.

Prakash, who had a close shave after a 82-mm mortar bomb shell tore open the roof-top of his house and landed in his room, said, "we are rattled by frequent shelling and firing by Pakistani forces. The villagers are at their wit's end and they fear that the border truce would collapse, putting their lives in peril."

Harnam Singh (40) and Rani Devi (43) of the Vidipur village, located barely 2 kms away from IB and Ajay (20) of Karotona Khurd, however, could not escape the violence as splinters of shells injured them Thursday night. In the neighbouring village of Jora Farm, the pall of gloom descended on the Gujjar community dominated border hamlet, where a mortar bomb brutally killed Akram Hussain and his 13-year-old son Aslam while three other persons were injured.

The residents of 27 border hamlets along the IB have either migrated or were evacuated, leaving behind one or two members of each family to take care of their house and cattle. "We have sent our entire families to safe shelters set up by the government in R S Pura. We stayed back to take care of our homes and cattle," Hans Raj of Abdullian village said, adding that the condition of most of the villages close to the IB was similar. 

PTI

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