January 2018 News

Guns Fall Silent, But Fear Deafening

23 January 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amir Karim Tantray

RS Pora: The guns have fallen silent on the International Border and a fragile calm exists but the fear remains. Border residents living in relief camps are scared of going home as they do not want to risk their lives in case Pakistan again rains mortar shells on them. They have decided to stay put in camps till the Republic-Day celebrations are over. 'Though we have been provided the best possible facilities in the relief camp established at the ITI Institute here, nothing can match the facilities at home. The circumstances have forced us to live in relief camps,' said Sohan Lal, a resident of Abdal village. The relief camp houses several families from Abdal, Bera, Abdullian and Gopar Basti villages of the RS Pura sector. Around 1,250 people of the RS Pura and Suchetgarh areas are living in migrant camps, while over 41,000 people have migrated to safer places since January 17 when Pakistani shelling started. Only a few have, however, returned home to take care of their property and livestock. The rain brought back the chill today and children and elders were confined to the rooms allotted to them by the district administration. The displaced people said that several families were living in one room and there was no privacy. 'It has become a daily affair to shift to migrant camps at safer places whenever Pakistan starts shelling on civilian areas. The government must provide us individual bunkers at our homes so that at the time of any eventuality, we don't have to move out,' said Vijay Chib, former naib sarpanch of Bera village.