Srinagar, Nov 2: The recent cross-border fire in Jammu’s R.S. Pura sector has stirred fear among residents living along the Line of Control in northern Kashmir, reigniting prayers for a peaceful situation which has been witnessed there for the last three years.
On February 25, 2021, India and Pakistan recommitted to the 2003 ceasefire agreement, agreeing to follow existing communication channels for any unexpected issues along the Line of Control and other sectors. After the agreement’s renewal, it brought unexpected relief to border residents, ending regular artillery shelling. However, on the night of October 26-27, cross-border shelling in Arnia and Suchetgarh injured two BSF jawans and four civilians, damaging homes and hurting cattle.
The recent shelling in the RS Pura sector has sparked fear among Kashmir’s border residents, prompting them to inspect the community bunkers in the several areas to prevent potential damage. Keran and Machil, located along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district, boast picturesque landscapes. Meanwhile, Gurez, a valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains, resides in Bandipora district, and Uri town sits amidst the hills of Baramulla.
Residents from these areas informed the KNO that they have experienced a relatively peaceful life for the past three years, fostering hope for a continued peaceful atmosphere. However, the recent shelling in Jammu brought back memories of the death and destruction caused by past cross-border shelling, compelling them to inspect underground community bunkers to prevent any potential damage.
“We are implementing all necessary preventive measures and cannot afford any errors, as past shelling incidents took away our loved ones,” the residents said. They expressed their prayers for a continued and lasting peaceful situation along the border areas.
A Karnah resident wishing not to be named said that the recent breach of the ceasefire has rekindled the anxieties and apprehensions of border residents, who have long faced the repercussions along the India-Pakistan border, evoking memories of past distressing migrations, loss of lives, and destruction experienced by villagers on the border since 1947.
He suggested that both governments should engage in dialogue and rigorously uphold the ceasefire to ensure a peaceful living environment. “War only brings death and devastation worldwide,” he said while emphasizing the importance of the ceasefire for averting further trauma and the hope for a lasting ceasefire.
“Over the last three years, we have been fortunate to leave behind the distressing conditions caused by cross-border shelling in the border areas. The implementation of the ceasefire has brought about substantial development in our areas,” Shakeel Ahmad, a resident of Gurez. He remarked on the significant transformation Gurez has experienced in recent years, attributing it to the government’s efforts that have put Gurez on the tourism map.
Similarly, a group of Uri, residents also hoped for peaceful situation along the line of Control (LoC) either in Jammu or Kashmir, saying that the borders areas have witnessed massive progress for the last three years which was impossible without peaceful situation.
Similarly, a group Uri residents echoed their wish for peace along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. Stressing that the considerable progress observed in the border areas during the past three years was a direct result of a peaceful environment.
They noted that marriages have occurred, evoking nostalgia and fostering reunions among relatives, a phenomenon previously unobserved before the ceasefire.