Fear Grips LoC Villages After Pak Shelling Kills Girl, Soldier

9 November 2014
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: Fear haunts Kamalkote village on the Line of Control (LoC) where a girl was killed last evening in Pakistani mortar shelling and his mother was critically injured and a soldier also died. Sarpanch of the village, Syed Mir Hussain says that at least 5-6 shells landed in the village last evening when Pakistani troops fired at Indian posts in Kamalkote sector. 'We are terrified after the killing. The LoC is mostly calm after 2003 ceasefire but it was all of a sudden that the mortar landed here. We are terrified and apprehensive', he said. A 17-year old Gulshan Bano, daughter of Mohammad Rafiq Bhati of Kamalkote died and her mother was critically injured in the firing. Sanyan, relative of Gulshan says: 'Gulshan and her mother were looking out from the window of their house after hearing gunfire. Suddenly a mortar shell hit a tree outside their house and splinters hit them', he said. The relative said that the duo was immediately shifted to Sub-district Hospital Uri where the girl died and her mother was referred to SKIMS hospital in Soura for treatment. Gulshan's marriage was scheduled later this month. The family was preparing for her marriage but now there is pal of gloom in the village as the bride has died. The mourners at the village are apprehensive about their safety. 'We are not safe here and Government has failed to provide us underground bunkers. Whenever there is firing on the LoC, Government promises us underground bunkers for safety but when it stops they forget it', said Mir Hussain, a local. Since last night troops have intensified patrol in the area. 'It must have been a cover fire for the infiltrators. We have intensified the patrolling to make it sure that no militant manages to infiltrate under the cover of firing', said an Army officer. Kamalkote is not the only village where there is tension after yesterday's firing. Fear has also gripped Churanda village which is right of the LoC and where three civilians were killed in in Pakistani mortar shelling two years ago. The residents of Churanda who are the worst victims of the LoC hostilities in Kashmir say that they become canon feeder in LoC hostilities. 'We are in the direct firing range of Pakistani troops. The Government should either construct or provide us money to construct these bunkers. If they fail, let it settle us somewhere else so that we don't live in constant fear', says Bashir Ahmad. He said the areas of Uri likely to be affected by cross-LoC shelling include Hathlanga, Churunda, Tilwari, Silikote and Sura, where over 1,000 families reside. The government promised us that bunkers will be constructed in these areas two years ago but so far it has not been delivered.