Caught between devil and deep sea, LoC residents say ‘fear is our destiny, migration our future’
Uri, June 14: Fear is visible on the face of almost every single resident here so is the uncertainty. Courtesy: intense exchange of small to heavy weapons by the Indian and Pakistani army which most of the times turns Uri area of north Kashmir into no less than a battle ground, forcing residents to take shelter in underground bunkers.
In Uri, at least half-a-dozen villages close to the Rampur sector, are under tight grip of fear and genuinely so. Majority of them say, “fear is our destiny and migration our future.” This is in the wake of frequent CFVs in the sector that is followed to intense exchange of fire between the two armies.
Not all the residents in the villages close to the LoC have underground bunkers, which is a big cause of worry for them. What they rely on is “self-made safety bunkers.”
Talking to news agency (KNO), the local residents said they are craving for safety bunker for years now. “Things seem to be going from bad to worse. At times mortar shells rain as if there is a full-fledged war between the two sides,” Arshid Ahmed Chakoo, a resident of Silikote village of Uri told KNO. “Entire population is already under the tight grip of pandemic and yet fresh aggression between the sides is a new worry for all of us. Shelling has made our lives hell. Whenever there is a shelling, we move to safer places and when things deteriorated we move to Uri town along with live-stock and our family members including elderly and children.”
At times, many residents say, they aren’t even able to buy necessary grocery items and have to stay indoors without having proper food.
“I suffered grave injuries in 2001 and since then I’m handicapped. My mother lost her life during the cross border shelling on 2003 and it’s all due to the heavy mortar shelling,” said Arshid.
“We want peace and this daily fierce gunfire, artillery and mortar shelling exchange should stop once for all so that no more damage is suffered and no precious life is lost in times to come.”
Lal Hussain Kohli, a resident of Churunda village said this time around there is more aggression on both sides and more hostiles which is a worrying factor.
“People who had gone out along with cattle are forced to return home with women facing immense challenges to reach their destinations. Fear has become our destiny and migration our future. If things don’t improve, we will migrate to Srinagar or Jammu forever,” Kohli said.
He said the Government too is playing dilly-dallying tactics over construction of underground bunkers. “Perhaps, the government wants us to die due to shelling,” he said.
Shahid Ahmad, Sarpanch of Nambla village area told KNO that no community bunkers have been built in the villages that are most affected— Nambla, Hajipeer, silikote, Garkote and other adjoining over the years leaving the local population to grapple amid the intense border shelling.
“A few underground bunkers were constructed just to evade criticism in 1998. We may have to die due to shelling as nobody cares for us,” he said. “There is no seriousness towards saving us from the government.”
This year so far, 1630 CFVs have taken place in J&K majority of which were recorded in Poonch, Rajouri, RS Pura in Jammu region and Keran, Tangdhar, Kupwara, Chowkibal and Uri in Kashmir region. The number is highest ever in the first quarter in the past five years.