SUCHETGARH: The “war hysteria” created by the Indian media following the November 26 Mumbai attack has given sleepless nights to the residents of many villages of the Jammu region.
“The activities across the border have increased, at many places we see that the Pakistani army has replaced the Pakistani rangers and they have also deployed some big guns. It is usual patrol by the troops of border security force
,” said Manoj Chand, another resident.
S N. Acharya, Jammu-based PRO of the Ministry of Defence, said: “Nothing is going on at our side. There is nothing to panic about.”
“During operation Prakram that followed December 13, 2001, terror attack on Parliament, there was a massive buildup of force on the border. We were asked to vacate our houses,” said Tirlochan Singh, a resident of Suchetgarh. The village is situated on the Zero line between India and Pakistan.
The standoff during Operation Prakram had stretched for more than 11 months when the armed forces of both countries had made “eyeball to eyeball” contact.
Though the standoff had ended peacefully, the residents of the border areas had to bear the brunt during that period.
“Not only we were forced to vacate our property, but when we returned after more than 11 months, we had nothing to eat as we could not cultivate our land. Our fields were mined and the de-mining took more than seven years. At many places the process of de-mining is still going on,” another villager rued.
As the war jingoism in the media is on its height, the residents of these areas pray that the situation passes of peacefully as the people here don’t have the capacity to bear the brunt anymore.
“We were the worst sufferers. We almost starved when our fields were mined and it was only last year that the government announced compensation and some portion of our land that falls on the other side of the barbed fence was de-mined and returned to us,” said Swarn Singh, a resident of Chamb village.
The farmers here say thousands of hectares of their cultivable land was made unfit for cultivation as it took more than seven years to de-mine the fields.-SANA