Residents along LoC apprehensive about Pakistan-India clash

5 December 2008
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: Fresh tensions between India and Pakistan have scared residents along the international border and those living along the Line of Control (LoC) in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). A Srinagar-based newspaper reported on Friday that villagers in Machil sector of Kupwara district have already started repairing and constructing underground bunkers to escape possible cross-LoC shelling. “Those who talk of war cannot imagine its consequences. We have been the sufferers in this hostility. Nobody can measure our pain and trauma. Before the ceasefire, we hardly remember a night when villagers had a sound sleep,” residents told reporters. Ghulam Ahmad Khan, a resident of Machil, said the residents had constructed underground bunkers after the Kargil war in 1999. “We had abandoned them after the ceasefire came into effect in November 2003,” he said. The 2003 ceasefire had brought relief to these areas, accelerating agricultural and other activities that had been disrupted earlier. People who had migrated to nearby towns had returned and re-constructed their houses. The newspaper reported that the residents of Machil, Lashdet, Dudi, Reng, Chuntwari, Dabbel and Batpora in the border district of Kupwara, which is close to the LoC, were highly apprehensive about the continuity of the ceasefire. Though there are no heavy movements of forces, the residents fear the statements by New Delhi and Islamabad would be reflected in their areas with both armies resorting to firing and shelling.