Srinagar: When the entire world is battling COVID-19 pandemic, Indian and Pakistani armies are shedding innocent blood on the borders in Jammu and Kashmir.
Official figures reveal there has been a spurt in the ‘ceasefire violations’ on the Line of Control (LoC) despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Data compiled by different security agencies reveal that 1,632 ‘ceasefire violations’ have taken place on the LoC from January 1 to June 2, 2020.
What is intriguing is that these skirmishes recorded a sharp spike during the lockdown.
March and April witnessed the highest border skirmishes this year. March was the deadliest when 411 such firefights took place on the LoC. However, the number slightly dropped to 387 in April. In January and February, 367, 366 ‘ceasefire violations’ were reported on LoC respectively.
Most of the cross-border skirmishes have been occurring on the LOC in Rajouri and Poonch districts in the Jammu division. This year, however, focus shifted to the LoC in North Kashmir. From Uri to Tangdhar to Keran, this year there was heavy shelling in north Kashmir areas as well.
Four civilians and two soldiers were killed in different border firing incidents on LoC in North Kashmir since January this year. Latest casualty being a 40-year-old woman from Batgran in the Uri sector on Friday. Last month two soldiers were killed in the Uri sector.
“This year, we have witnessed heavy shelling in the Uri sector. Several villages were affected. Around 60 houses were destroyed since January this year,” said Mohammad Rafiq Blote, chairman Block Development Council (BDC), Uri.
Five commandos of elite 4 Para (Special Forces) were killed while fighting heavily armed militants along the Line of Control (LoC) at Ringdori forest area of Keran on April 7. Hundreds of people fled their homes after three people were killed in the Keran sector in April.
Official figures reveal that there have been 3,289 skirmishes along the Indo-Pak border in 2019. In 2018, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 2,936 instances of ‘ceasefire violations’ with an average of eight cases daily, in which 61 people were killed and over 250 injured.
The number was three times more than in 2017 when 971 cases were reported. In 2017, 31 people — 12 civilians and 19 security forces personnel — were killed and 151 others suffered injuries.
“There are several discrepancies in allotment of bunkers in border villages of district Poonch. Union home ministry has released millions of rupees to the J&K government for construction of community and individual bunkers but unfortunately, the ground situation is entirely different,” said Dr Shazad Malik former Vice-Chancellor, Sai Nath University and prominent social activist of Poonch.