LoC Face-Off: Fear prevails in Uri, Kupwara; PaK villages also hit

LoC Face-Off: Fear prevails in Uri, Kupwara; PaK villages also hit
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Afaq Bhat

Srinagar, Feb 26: India and Pakistan armies exchanging heavy fire in Uri and Kupwara districts in north Kashmir have created panic in these frontier areas.
Seven villages along Line of Control which include, Silkote, Churanda, Tillawari, Mothal, Thajal, Hathlanga and Soura in the Uri sector have been worst hit. There is fear in Keran and Karnah sectors of Kupwara districts as armies of both the countries exchanged heavy fire in these sectors last week.
There were reports that India and Pakistan armies exchanged heavy artillery in Uri after a gap of 15-years forcing people to abandon their homes and flee.
Sources told Precious Kashmir that nearly 3000 people staying near LoC in Uri have been displaced and they are putting up in makeshift shelters in Uri town. “People who have left their homes don’t want to return as they fear that situation on the LoC can turn ugly and they may end up losing their lives. Most of them believe that relations between India and Pakistan have touched a new low and guns can start roaring at any point of time,” they added.
Most of the displaced residents are demanding that government should settle them in plains and make colonies for them as they have made for the displaced Kashmiri Pandits.
On the other hand the government of Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) has readied evacuation plan to relocate locals living near LoC to safe areas due to recent skirmishes. “The decision has been taken amidst no let-up in LoC ceasefire violations by the Indian forces in the recent days,” Pakistan daily Express Tribune quoted local government sources as having said.
The newspaper said that PaK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider has directed the district machinery and local authorities in the areas located along LoC to make standby arrangements for relocating thousands of people whose lives have come under direct threat after the tension at border.
An analyst said, “People on both the sides of the LoC have been hit due to the escalation of tensions between the two countries. If the tension continues to prevail it would have direct impact on the lives of citizens on both the sides.”
He said, “Today we are facing war like situation only at LoC and International Border. If the tensions escalate we could face the same situation in cities and towns.”
A Kashmir watcher said, “In absence of the political dialogue both the countries are blaming each other for the ceasefire violations. Since the day calm is prevailing at Jammu borders, focus has shifted towards Kashmir and situation has taken an ugly turn.”
He said, “Political leadership of both the countries needs to sit together and formulate a permanent peace agreement to ensure that denizens don’t suffer. War is no solution. It can devastate both the nations.”