India’s neighbor and home to many radicals, Pakistan is known for its misconduct along the border in Jammu. Pakistani Army keeps on firing bullets and mortars to distract the Indian Army and to make time for their terrorists to cross the border and enter into the territory of India. Since September there have been 3,186 incidents of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LOC) which was informed in Parliament.
Apart from this, 242 incidents of cross-border firing have taken place in the Indo-Pak International border in Jammu till August as told by the Minister of State for Defense of Shripad Naik in Rajya Sabha.
In an interview, Shripad Naik said that there were 8 fatal and 2 non-fatal casualties of Army personnel in Jammu and Kashmir till September 7. At the same time, 5 soldiers from the Border Security Force (BSF) suffered non-fatal casualties along the International Border and LoC. The soldiers from the Indian Army and BSF have also retaliated and these cases have been reported to Pakistan’s authorities through the established mechanism of hotlines, flag meetings, and through Directorate General of Military Operations talks and diplomatic channels. He also said that Pakistani authorities will look into the matter.
While the ceasefire violations have increased along the border of India and Pakistan the Indian government has failed to provide safety to the locals who live in the areas along border. Villagers along the border in Jammu say that their lives have become miserable. The villagers can neither go to their farms to carry out their livelihoods nor can their children go to schools as institutions are shut during ceasefire violations.
All this is after India signed a ceasefire agreement with Pakistan in 2003. All the temples, schools, colleges along the border area have been converted into makeshift camps where the people living near border areas hide during the firing of mortar shells and bullets by the Pakistani Army. At least 20 families for safety reasons have been evacuated from their homes
People from 102 villages that are near the border have been evacuated and they take shelter in their relative’s house. The International Border in Jammu is nearly 185 kilometers long and the LOC is nearly 734 kilometers long and runs across the regions of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. About 150 schools that are situated within five kilometers of the border are shut down due to the frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Many people have to shut their shops due to security reasons.
Arnia, RS Pura, Samba, Kathua, and Akhnoor are some of the areas affected by the ceasefire violations. Not only humans but animals have also suffered. Muslim dominated areas like Nowshera, Sunderbani, Rajouri, Krishna Ghati, Mendhar, and Balakot in Poonch are also some villages that remained under the Pakistani firing range. From these villages, more than 4,500 people have been shifted to relief camps due to heavy firing along the border. Around 170 houses have been damaged and 8 locals have died because of shelling. Despite regular firing, the state government has made proper arrangements for the locals residing in the border area.
The people from Arnia, R S Pura, Akhnoor, Samba, and Kathua who are living in villages that are close to the border have always complained about the unavailability of the bulletproof ambulance. According to the locals the hospital nearby doesn’t have the proper staff to provide treatment to those who suffer injuries. The health infrastructure in primary health centers is very poor and the doctors in these centers directly refer the locals to go to Government hospitals in Jammu without providing basic first aid. In the recent ceasefire incident, 12 people lost their lives because they didn’t get proper medical assistance from the doctors of nearby health centers.
The ex-chief minister and party President of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba mufti last year visited the relief camps and appealed to Pakistan to respect the religious sentiment of Ramzan. She also reminded Pakistan about the ceasefire pact signed between both the countries. Mufti also said that the local hospitals will be provided with more and better equipment to provide medical assistance to the injured people.
The state government has built bunkers along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch where locals can hide during the ceasefire violations. Currently, there are 102 family bunkers in which 10 people can accommodate for a long-term stay and 12-16 people can accommodate for a short-term stay. The government has also announced to provide proper care facilities to the victims who have suffered from the violations.