Rahul Gandhi Meets Families Affected By Pakistan Shelling In Jammu And Kashmir

26 August 2015

Jammu: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi arrived in Jammu on Wednesday on a three-day visit. Amid reports of continuous ceasefire violation at the Line of Control, Rahul met the families affected by the Pakistani troops' shelling in Balakote area in Poonch district. He spoke to the families of six civilians including a headman and a teacher who were killed in ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Balakote on Independence day. 'I have come all the way here to share your pain and grief of losing your near ones,' Rahul told Azim, whose brother Amin was killed and another sibling Ramiz injured in the shelling. The Congress vice president, who was accompanied by party leader Ambika Soni and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief Gulam Ahmed Mir, interacted with family of 52-year-old sarpanch Karamat Hussain, who was killed in the firing, and assured them of all possible help. The residents of villages hit by ceasefire violations demanded rehabilitation in safer areas and insurance cover for people and property including crops and livestocks. 'People here are very worried, very scared.... These are valid demands. I think the government of India should look into it, do something about it,' Rahul said. 'They say when someone is killed in terror attack, they get more compensation. Those killed by Pakistani shells get less compensation. They said the compensation should be same,' said the Congress leader who will also visit Kashmir and Ladakh regions. There have been 51 violations of the 2003 ceasefire by Pakistan in August and over 245 violations this year so far. 'We want jobs to be given to the kin of those killed. We want rehabilitation at safer places as we are targeted by Pakistan year after year,' Gulam Abbas, a villager, told Rahul. People have raised the issues of their rehabilitation in safer areas, insurance cover and construction of bunkers for their use during firing from across the border, the Congress leader told reporters. On the issue of retaliation by Indian troops, he said it is in the domain of army. 'I have come to meet these people who are standing (on this borderline) for India, so India should also stand by them,' he said, adding their demands were not big and can be easily fulfilled. Addressing reporters in Jammu, Rahul Gandhi also criticised the BJP and said that the government believed that only PM Narendra Modi had all the 'gyaan' (knowledge). 'The problem with this government is that it believes that only Modiji has gyaan,' Rahul said. 'Congress is democratic. We believe in allowing people to speak, unlike BJP, in which only one man is allowed to speak.' The Congress vice president also criticised the government over the OROP issue. 'Mr Modi promised One Rank One Pension scheme. Our ex-servicemen are on a hunger strike. The PM should take action,' he said, adding that the Prime Minister had failed to fulfil the promises made by him. He will also meet representatives of different sections of society and address a panchayat conference. During his trip, Rahul will travel to all three regions of the state - Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh, The Hindustan Times reported. The BJP had earlier slammed Rahul's visit to Jammu and Kashmir saying he was trying to 'politicize' the border issues. The Congress party had also attacked the Centre and the PDP-BJP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir for rise in terror attacks in the state and ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the border areas, saying the government has 'failed' to control these incidents.