Thousands of people who were displaced in the last two weeks due to border shelling in Jammu region returned home after the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of India and Pakistan decided to restore peace along the Line of Control (LC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir by agreeing to honour the ceasefire pact of 2003.
More than 50,000 people had been sheltered in schools and colleges in Jammu away from the shelling that killed 12 people and injured 50 in last two weeks.
The DGMO, while announcing the decision on ending hostilities, said: “In case of any issue, restraint will be exercised, and the matter will be resolved through utilisation of existing mechanisms of hotline contacts and border flag meetings at local commander’s level.”
Bacchan Lal, the headman of Abdullian village in Jammu and Kashmir who has been living in RTI College RS Pora with 400 other people in the last two weeks, rued that such agreements rarely last long. “They agree to respect the ceasefire several times every year but then they violate it again. Every time people are killed, cattle perish and we end up in such camps,” he said.
Lal, like others, wants permanent peace on the borders so that he can do farming peacefully. “We are in camps for the second time this year. We don’t want this uncertainty. We want permanent peace as we had 30 years ago so that we can do farming,” he said.
Hemmant Singh, 55, is worried about a delay in sowing Basmati rice this year because of the border shelling. “We can’t afford to miss the key planting season. We appeal to both the countries to find a solution to the border hostilities”, he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the ceasefire agreement. “This brings great relief to the people residing in the vicinity,” she said on Twitter. “Peace on our borders is the first essential step to a larger understanding and I truly hope it sustains.”