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Elation and fear in Jammu villages surrounded by Pakistan from three sides after air strike on Balakot terror camp

On Tuesday also, when Indian Air Force fighter jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan territory, it was life as usual for the people of Abdulian and Chanduchak, the last Indian villages on the border in RS Pura sector of Jammu district.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2019 10:08 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Abdulian (RS Pura)
Neelam Devi says there is a sense of fear among residents of two border villages in Jammu.  Her husband Bachan Lal says the villagers were ecstatic over the IAF strike.
Neelam Devi says there is a sense of fear among residents of two border villages in Jammu. Her husband Bachan Lal says the villagers were ecstatic over the IAF strike.(Combo Photo )
         

Flying mortars and loud explosions don’t haunt over 1,300 residents of two villages that virtually sit on the mouth of Pakistani barrels and have bore maximum brunt of shelling from across the Indo-Pak international border during skirmishes.

On Tuesday also, when Indian Air Force fighter jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan territory, it was life as usual for the people of Abdulian and Chanduchak, the last Indian villages on the border in RS Pura sector of Jammu district.

The villagers, however, were ecstatic over the IAF strike, calling it a “real tribute” to Pulwama martyrs.“For how long will India remain soft to a rogue country like Pakistan? There is happiness among villagers for avenging the dastardly attack that martyred over 40 of our jawans,” said Bachan Lal, former sarpanch of Abdulian-Chanduchak panchayat.The villagers were seen exchanging sweets, including milk cake, the indigenously prepared delicacy of this border belt.

However, Lal’s wife Neelam Devi, who is the sarpanch of the Abdulian-Chanduchak panchayat, said there was also a sense of fear among villagers following India’s revenge.

“No one has moved out of the village. Women and children are attending to their routine work. But fear haunts us because we are surrounded from three sides by Pakistani posts, barely 500 meters to 1 km away,” she said.

Devi said the men were also going to their farms as they do during normalcy.

Former panch Ramesh Lal, 50, also echoed Devi’s apprehensions.

“The fear of retaliation is always there. But enough is enough. What India did today (Tuesday), should have been done immediately after the Pathankot air base attack,” Ramesh Lal said.

Farming activity on Pakistan virtually stopped

Balwinder Singh, 52, and other villagers said farming activity on the Pakistani side had virtually stopped since the Pulwama attack on February 14.

“This morning we heard morning azaan from their mosques but there were no afternoon azaan, which they usually perform at 1.30pm. It is already 3pm,” Singh said.

The villagers said neither the BSF nor the border police had issued any advisory to them.

The Border Security Force (BSF) has the operational responsibility of 198-km long international border, called working boundary by Pakistan. The Indian Army mans the 744-km long line of control in the state.

‘Unfinished bunkers’

The villagers, however, rued that individual bunkers had been left incomplete and were of no use to them during contingencies.

“Though Abdulian village has two community bunkers, constructed long ago, but the eight individual bunkers are still not complete,” said Bachan Lal.

“Half of them are filled with slush and not in a position to be used,” he added

“The walls have not been cemented. There is no light and the entrances of these bunkers have been left uncovered. If a bomb lands on the entrance and explodes, none will be left alive,” he added.

Abdulian has a government primary school and Chanduchak has a government high school. Both the schools functioned normally on Tuesday.

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 09:50 IST