Thursday, Nov 27, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
There was quiet along the RS Pura and Samba sectors at the IB, where small arms fire targeted at the ongoing fencing operations had become a routine feature in the last two weeks. Akhnoor sector from where the LoC starts was tranquil. It was an occasion to celebrate for the residents.
The border situation had worsened in the last few years and displacements had become a regular feature. After the Kargil war broke out, more than 1.75 lakh residents had migrated mostly from the plain and densely-populated IB. Although most of them have returned home, many could not reclaim their lands located in forward areas.
The locals are given clear instructions to rush to underground bunkers when shelling starts. But the residents of the Poonch sector were finding it increasingly difficult to protect themselves as the town is overlooked by the Haji-Pir mountains under the occupation of Pakistan.
Chowdhary Hamid, a resident of the forward village of Jhangar, said: "We live in a death trap and do not know whether we will be alive the next day or not. We are hoping that these guns would remain silent and our children can play in the open fields."
Talking to The Hindu, a senior Army officer said: "The Pakistani soldiers usually provide covering fire to the militants sneaking into our territory. We have to wait before rushing to any conclusion." People at the various migrant camps along the LoC are looking forward to returning to their native villages.
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