Residents of the border villages of Jammu and Samba districts, whose kin were killed or wounded due to the recent shelling by Pakistan in civilian areas, are upset that the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir is not taking care of them. They accused them of being more interested in doling out jobs to injured Kashmiri stone-pelters.
Rural-folk in these districts dislocated due to shelling from across the border were also annoyed that hardly any political leader has come to take care of them in the make-shift camps where they were lodged for several days. These leaders show up in the border villages only to seek votes during the elections, they lament.
Makha Ram of Kothe Mahashe village whose four family members were killed and nine critically wounded due to Pakistan shelling complains that a meager amount of relief was given to him by the authorities and the money was spent on treatment of the injured relatives. The stone-pelters injured in police action in Kashmir were flown to AIIMS and other top hospitals for treatment at government expense, but those getting wounded due to shelling by Pakistan troops have to spend out of their own pocket in the hospital, he pointed out.
He said he was waiting for the government’s support as besides the loss of lives, both rooms of his house had collapsed as mortar shells landed on the roof. The walls of the house bearing splinter marks were testimony of the loss he suffered.
Pakistan targeted Arnia town and adjoining villages for the first time in September this year when a number of civilians and BSF personnel lost their lives. A large number of cattlehead perished or were grievously injured due to shelling.
The victims were running from pillar to post for government help but were getting only lip sympathy.
Subhash Chander of Alla village, whose mother Ratno Devi was killed due to shelling, is exhausted making vain attempts to get a government job that he was promised by the authorities. His wife Rajni Devi also suffered serious injuries and is still unable to move.
Pakistani shells landed at his house around midnight on 17 September killing his mother on the spot. His father Muni Lal said that political leaders landed up at the Government Medical College, Jammu, for a photo-opportunity and lip sympathy but no one was there to help his daughter-in-law get free treatment in the hospital. Being a small shopkeeper, it was becoming extremely difficult for him to continue with her treatment.
In village after village such complaints poured in as this correspondent drove through the borderline.
Residents of Poonch and Rajouri districts on the Line of Control (LOC) were also living in constant fear as Pakistanis were also targeting civilian areas of these districts. The shelling has claimed the lives of several civilians and Army personnel.
More than 7000 people had to move to camps in safe places for several days as Pakistani troops were continuing to shell these areas.
More than 300 students and teachers of government schools near the LOC had to be evacuated in bulletproof vehicles by the Army and police as these institutions were also targeted.
This has become a constant problem for residents of villages along the International border and the LOC as Pakistan indulges in such shelling and firing throughout the year.