By : Nazma Choudhary
The Line of Control (LoC) dividing the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into India and Pakistan symbolizes decades of painful history. Now it is once again turning into a battleground between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
The large population living on both sides of the divide continue living on the edge amid one of the heaviest military presences in the world. The 742-kilometer (460-mile) de facto border passes through the breathtaking Krishnaghati, Hajipeer, Shamsbari, and Kafirkhan mountain ranges, abundant with lush green dense forests, streams, springs, and vast grazing grounds.
But the sight of villages surrounded by military barracks, people huddled in underground bunkers, and the sounds of artillery fire and helicopters buzzing overhead make the serene surroundings seem lethal.Sheep graze over the heavily mined boundary. Shepherds sometimes accidentally cross it, oblivious to its contours, only to be shelled by Indian or Pakistani soldiers, or detained.
From the city of Muzaffarabad to Neelam Valley, a distance of 102 km (63 mi), the calm of the serene surroundings is punctured with occasional gunfire. The local trees have taken the brunt of mortar shelling. Speculations remain rife that tensions willd further escalate after New Delhi revoked the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir this August and released new maps showing the Pakistani side as its own.
When India and Pakistan were divided at the end of British Colonial rule in 1947. Since the time people living at the borders of the country had faced a painful history. The area of Shahpur, Kirni, Qasba of district Poonch is the last area along the Indian side of the Line of Control. In early times of tensions the troops exchanged small fires, but now both sides are moving heavy artillery to forward positions, pumping mortars and shells which often fall in the villages. The residents of these villages have to deal with violence, terror attacks, military engagements and shellings as well that lead to suffer their lives socially, economically and psychologically. Being deprived of land, being denied education and healthcare can have an adverse effect on these communities.
When people go out of their houses to do economic activities, students go to schools and for other purposes they fell insecurity of their lives. Many times people can’t sleep in nights due to horror sounds of shellings. People cook their meal and can’t eat, many times they are even unable to cook foods, they’ve to wait for the shelling to stop and the live for hours with empty stomach. The sick people face more difficulties they can’t reach to hospitals at the time. It is more terrible for pragnent woman at their time of delivery, what would be the situation for them if shelling starts and they couldn’t reach to hospitals at the right time. For those people this is a daily routine but the fear is what if the next shell falls over their house and blast, the whole family would burnt on the spot.
The lives of the residents of border towns /villages are much terrible. Due to these border tensions, many people are left handicapped, many houses burnt in fire, many houses have developed cracks, many students have sacrificed their dreams of education, many domestic animals have been killed till now. Many lives have been sacrificed and many others have suffered a lot. This is not life, they are sleepless, they are restless, they are in terrible situation every time.Inhabitants of these victim villages are still watching the August hands’ action to emancipate them from this cruel situation . Dozen of natives became handicapped and lost their kin .No dare to became voice of these victim of border.These people eat their meal in the light of Artillery fires not bulbs .
Say no war.
Yes to peace.
It is the matter of the lives of many innocents.
Note: Writer is a Social Activist and president of Women Wing of Ever Shine Educational Trust Poonch Currently Pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Politics from Jammu University. Holding Many Research Works and also like to write on Social, Economical, and Historical Monuments.