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Evacuation of areas on Punjab’s Pakistan border revoked

Government has reversed its earlier decision to evacuate villagers living within 10km area along the 553km border with Pakistan, according to government sources.

punjab Updated: Oct 07, 2016 21:18 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times
Pakistan,surgical strikes,Modi govt
There are near 1000 villages in the 10km distance from the international border from Abohar in Fazilka district to Bhoa in Pathankot of Punjab. (HT File Photo)

Following people’s ire and political backlash, the Punjab government on Friday revoked its September 29 decision to evacuate around 1,000 villages situated within the 10-km belt along the Pakistan border in the state.

The move follows a decision by the Union home minister Rajnath Singh at a meeting with chief ministers of western border states in Jaisalmer, where the situation along the border with Pakistan was reviewed, said a Punjab government spokesman.

“Since Pakistan chose to deny surgical strikes, chances of a military reaction from the across the border also diminished,” Punjab chief minister’s adviser Harcharan Bains said in a statement.

Women and children on their way home at Muhawa village near Attari in Amritsar district on Thursday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT Photo)

Meanwhile, state chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal has directed deputy commissioners of all six border districts to take steps for smooth return of the affected people to their villages.

The Union government had ordered evacuation in border villages apprehending retaliation from Pakistan after surgical strikes across the Line of Control on September 29.

Read | Congress slams ‘forced evacuation’ of people from border areas in Punjab

Read | Capt accuses Modi govt of creating war hysteria

Many families had refused to leave saying they had to tend to their crops, cattle and properties. The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party targeted the state government and the Akali-BJP combine for overreacting to the situation and ordering evacuation.

Read | Week after surgical strikes, normalcy returning to border areas of Amritsar

First Published: Oct 07, 2016 15:45 IST