People living in uncertainty due to Pakistan-Indian border tension
The state map of Jammu and Kashmir (Representative Image)(Source: Others) Photograph: (Others)
People at the border between Pakistan and India have been living in uncertainty due to constant conflicts at the borderline.
Tensions have spiralled in Kashmir since last July after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in Kashmir, leading to months of widespread protests and security crackdown in the Valley.
The Hizbul Mujahideen is declared a terrorist organisation by India, the United States and UN.
Burhan Wani, who gained popularity among the Kashmiri youth for his social media posts against the Indian government, was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8.
The Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist featured in videos circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp aimed at recruiting young Kashmiri men for terror. A month before his death, he had released a video warning of attacks on separate colonies for Sainiks (soldiers) and Kashmiri Pandits if they are set up in the Kashmir Valley. The major part of the video message was directed at the Jammu and Kashmir Police warning them of more attacks.
Tensions further escalated along the border after a raid in September on an Indian military base in Uri by Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Eighteen soldiers were killed in the attack.
76-year-old Abdul Aziz, a resident of Chikoti -- a town along the volatile Pakistan-India border -- lost his life in border firing when he mistakenly crossed the line of control.
"It was 4 o'clock in the evening and it was the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan, my father went out to gather firewood and he was shot by the Indian forces," Tariq Mehmood, son of Aziz.
Abdul Aziz was killed and buried across the border, media reports state. His family wants his body to be handed back to them.
"They killed my husband and took his body away. I just want them to give his dead body back. I am an old woman, how will I live the rest of my life without him?" said Sakeena Begum, wife of Aziz.
Protests have erupted, following the killings. Protesters blocked the road and said they won't leave till the bodies of their loved ones are handed back to them.
Incidents of cross-border conflict has become the norm since the last months of 2016 as tensions simmer between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir issue.
The Pakistan army claims that civilians living near the line of control mostly become the victims of unprovoked firing from the Indian side.
Pakistan and India, which have been at loggerheads since the partition in 1947, maintain a 2003 ceasefire agreement across the Line of Control, but it is frequently violated. Both sides blame each other for instigating hostilities.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)