The nightmare could not have gotten worse for Chaju Ram and Tanya Mangotra as Pakistani bombs rained down on the Arnia sub-sector at Jammu on Monday, three kilometers from the International Border.
Ram lost four of his family members to the shelling that started at 12 pm on Sunday and carried on well until Monday morning, while another five are battling for their lives in a government hospital at Jammu.
“I have lost everything,” said an inconsolable Ram, whose wife and son died in the firing and another son was wounded. “How does it matter whether the government retaliates or not? No action can bring back my family members.”
It was a double blow for Ram, whose house at Mashain-de-kothe village was damaged by the worst floods the state had seen in 100 years. His brother and niece also died of wounds caused by the bombs.
Three kilometres away, Tanya’s family had gathered to celebrate her first birthday when bullets pierced through buntings, wounding six people, including her father and uncle.
“She is our first child and it was her first birthday,” said Tanya’s mother, Nitu Magotra. “Every one was happy and clapping but everything changed in just a few hours.”
Guests at the Mangotras' house had gone to sleep on the roof where they could enjoy the cool night breeze. In a matter of minutes, the beds were soaked in blood.
Back at Chaju Ram’s house, his niece Neha, who works in a beauty parlour, is busy trying to juggle between getting her father’s and sister’s bodies back to the village for the last rites and attending to her ailing mother and two brothers in the hospital.
“India must retaliate, we cannot keep silent,” she said. “Pakistan should have shown restraint during Eid at least.”