Suchetgarh: Hundreds of people have fled their villages as a record number of ceasefire violations continue along the line of control and the international border. The villagers who are fed up of the uncertainty and of living under the shadow of fear, are hoping that the government would heed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's call for a tougher stand against Pakistan.
Villages like Suchetgarh near Samba which are surrounded by green fields and farmlands lose their peaceful pastoral scene due to repeated firing from the Pakistani side. The village which is just a stones-throw away from the international border has left its residents living under a shadow of fear due to the repeated ceasefire violations.
"Our village is on the zero line. There is intermittent firing, we are scared. Firing in recent days scared people so much that the left the village here and migrated out," Village head Darshan Singh said.
There are deep holes in the fields and roofs of houses have blown away. The mortar shells remain a grim reminder of how dangerous this are has become. With snow fall likely in the upper reaches soon, the warmer and snow free flatlands of Samba have seen a spurt in ceasefire violations and infiltration bids. Pakistani watch towers in the distance strike fear in the heart of villagers who feel they are being observed and then targeted.
"If this shell had landed anywhere closer, I would have been dead. What will happen to my children?, a scared Sunder Singh said.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde visited Samba after an aerial survey of the border. He mingled with BSF troops and reassured them of steps being taken by the government. He also hinted at the intelligence reports which suggest Jamat Ud Dawa chief Hafeez Sayed could be across the border aiding the ceasefire violations.
"We have information about Hafeez Sayeed. But until the Pakistan government says something my hands are tied," Shinde said.
Though unified command meeting in Jammu promised action against Pakistani violations, the villagers continue to grapple with fear and continue to hope that effective action will be taken by the government.