Border residents living in fear of bombs and bullets

Jammu: For the border residents in Ramgarh sector of Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, it has been raining bombs and bullets as Pakistan Rangers target several civilian villages along the International Border in the sector.

Many border residents say that they have been witnessing death closely since the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

“It rained bombs and bullets on our villages during the day. It was like a war is being fought and we were caught in between, we witnessed death from close quarters,” Kamlesh Kumari, a relative of Mara Ram, who died yesterday in the intense shelling by Pakistani forces, said.

60-year-old Mara Ram, a resident of Rangoor village, succumbed to injuries at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMC) after he along with his son and 14-month-old granddaughter were injured in the firing.

While majority of the injured are not in a condition to speak, their relatives recount the horror they went through after Pakistani side targeted their village at a time when they were getting ready for routine chores.

“We were aware that the situation was tense, but we never thought that our village would be attacked like this, if we had an iota of information we would have already shifted to safer place,” Harbans Lal, another relative of Mara Ram, said.

The border residents say yesterday’s firing from across the border was so intense that people were unable to rescue their injured relatives as it continued unabated.

“It was like Pakistani side was deliberately targeting civilian areas, they fired on the same spot again and again. My father was injured as he received splinter in the neck and as I tried to save him there was another blast and I was injured in the leg, my daughter Pari was also injured in the blast,” 31-year-old Rakesh Kumar said.

A 14-month-old girl, Pari, who has sustained injuries in her neck and spine is also undergoing treatment at the GMC.

Doctors attending the victims of cross border firing say that while most of the injuries were not life threatening, Pari might need to stay in hospital for long as her injuries would take longer to heal.

“We have been treating victims of cross border firing from all parts of Jammu region and we try our best to provide them with best possible medical facilities here. We are working round the clock for them,” Neeraj Sharma, a GMC doctor attending to the injured patients said.

The victims say that the injuries might heal, but the scars of firing etched in their memories would not.

“Wounds will heal, but life will not remain the same for us, now we would be afraid to return to our houses,” Kumar said.

The relatives of the victims say that the firing has once again justified their demand for rehabilitation to safer locations.cross-border

“If similar situations continue on the border, nobody would want to return to their villages. The government must fulfil its promise of providing us with plots at safer locations,” Preetam Singh, a resident of Rangoor said.