Defensive borders mean different things to different persons, and when boundaries are contest and observe confrontations, the story differs enormously on both sides. The study focuses on the all troubles faced by persons on both sides of the 758-km LoC, together with separated families, and offers recommendations to highlight these concerns. The centre of the study is to help ‘make a move from mutual disbelieve and unfriendliness to mutual belief and companionship with a holistic move towards.’ By bringing the border landers to the centre-stage and improving the communication on the LoC, the study seeks to take in their people in the process of support peaceful discussions to decide cross-border issues amid the two countries.
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It was the sound of our vehicle that had signalled him. Light in hand, he slowly walked out of the gate, defending the upper half of the beam of the light so that it can’t be observed by the Pakistan Rangers whose dug-outs are barely a kilometre away from the International boundary. Even though its being Chhoti Diwali, Gopad and Samka Basti villages on the International boundary in Jammu’s RS Pura Sector were deserted and shady.
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The region is being incessantly shelled for past four days. Persons had fled to shelter. The management has sounded a red alert across the region and asked the persons to move out.
A little over 75 years old, Debraj, was the only man left. He had farm animals to take care, in addition he said ‘too old and ‘couldn’t care’ to move. He says haltingly, sucking in his gasp.
‘I was very young in 1947, but I clearly memorize the 1965, 1971 India-Pakistan war, he said, adding with that he has also lived through the irregular conflicts and cross border firing.
‘At the time, there was no infrastructure here,’ he stated, referring to 1965 and 1971 war. ‘We carried ammo to the trenches and fox holes to help the forces,’ he said. The bombardment in the last few days is kind of “unparalleled’, he said. ‘They are intentionally targeting civilians
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Ever since September 29, as Indian Forces carried out surgical strikes in PoK, blowing up terror start pads, ceasefire violations by Pakistan have amplified. Number of shells and bullets that didn’t get to the planned target defines the lives of the residents.
30-year-old Shilpa Sharma was lived, a few kilometres far from Gopad Basti, away from the arc of erratic and irregular shelling. Her 3 children – between 3 and 10 years – be seated next to her and enthusiastically wait.
For the last few days, an open field has become home for them for the last few days, after their home was damaged by Pakistani shells.
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‘At night-time it is chilly, we have no cover but shells don’t reach this far,’ she said, signifying that winter is an easier foe to battle than the erratic shelling.
Livelihood along and on the boundary, the conflict couldn’t have come a bad time. Their crop, the well-known Basmati rice, is ready. But harvesting is not possible because of the firing.
Labourers are mainly from Bengal and Bihar – who harvested the fields have all fled. In the fields, long stretches of fully grown paddy crop stands unattended.
Purann Chand, a farmer from Gopad said, ‘Crops on the other area across the International Border, grown-up a little earlier, harvesting is ended for them,’ signifying the cross-border means planned to cause maximum damage on the Indian region.