December 2000 News

Truce brings hope for border residents

4 December 2000
The Pioneer
Binoo Joshi

Akhnoor (Jammu): They are eagerly waiting for Pakistan making good news on its promise to silence guns on the Line of Control (LoC). In fact, they are praying for the same. Tired of living in the tents- away from their homes and fields- the border residents, the victims of Pakistani firing are happy that Pakistan has started talking peace after a long wait. The radio news bulletins on Saturday evening proclaiming that Pakistan will stop its actions on the LoC offered them new hopes of returning to their homes and fields without any fear of being killed or wounded by Pakistani bullets. A new thrill is in air for these border residents-who are hoping that the cease-fire announced by Pakistan would be a permanent affair. Gharu Ram is one such farmer. He was told on Sunday morning that Pakistan has decided not to fire at his village any longer. The news is like ''honey'' in his ears. ''I could not believe it that Pakistan would ever announce such a measure. I am simply thrilled'', he said. Further news that the borders were silent now, has encouraged Gharu to shift back to his village in Garkhal. But, he is waiting for green signal from the authorities. There are about 120,000 people living in Devi Pur and other places in this area for the past over one year. Pakistani troops had intensified firing along the LoC and international border in Jammu and Kashmir after its debacle in Kargil where Indian troops pushed back Pakistani soldiers from the Himalayan heights. The Pak firing had dislocated huge pockets of population living along the borders. These people had taken shelter at safe places. Like soldiers, the border residents too are watching the situation. But the word has gone round that the days for their return to their homes are back. ''If the borders become peaceful, I would be returning my home in Molu Chak any time '', said Shiv Ram, who hails from Molu Chak. The women folk are also waiting for the day, when they would be asked to return. There is much more at stake for them than simply peace on borders. For instance, the schooling of their children, social status, socio-cultural functions etc. what is interesting is that the people living in towns as well as in remote areas are not willing to marry to the people living in border areas. And Ram is certain that his prayers would not go waste. God will listen to him. Announcing virtual cease-fire on LoC by Pakistan is a partial answer from God. Ram is sure that his prayers would be fully answered the day he would be back in his home with his family and neighbours. He cannot think of returning home as the truce announced is just for the month of Ramzan.


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