Caged in their own territory, Uri villagers write to DM, army chief for ‘freedom’

Caged in their own territory, Uri villagers write to DM, army chief for ‘freedom’

Baramulla: The villagers of Churanda in border town Uri have written letters of similar content to Indian defence minister Manohar Parikar, chief of the army staff Gen Bipin Rawat and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to lift the concertina wire encircling their village that restricts the movement of the residents and their livestock.
The letters were signed by the villagers including the women and highlight the ordeal of the people due to installation of the razor wire. The wire was installed 14 years ago. The villagers have the luxury of two entry and exit points in the village which are often closed by the soldiers. “There is a population of around 1350 souls in the border village. The villagers are virtually caged with the razor wire. They can’t move around at their own will and freedom,” Lal Din Khatana, village headman told Kashmir Reader.
He said the army permanently besieged the village with multiple layers of razor wire. Only two exit and entry points were provided and people are forced to pass through these gates manned by the army personnel.
“We raised question with army that time but it was completely jungle law in the state that time. Therefore nobody listened to our pleas,” he said adding around six villages in the border area of Uri including Churanda, Silikote, Tilawari, Hathlanga, Soura and Jabla are completely encircled with concertina wire.
“We have dispatched the letters to the army chief who has spent a lot of time in Uri, Baramulla and other areas in Kashmir. We believe he would understand our problems and initiate corrective measures,” Khata said.
He said that the villagers pleaded with the representatives of local administration and the political leadership but they failed to make any change on the ground situation.
Another villager said that they fail to understand as to why the village has been encircled completely. “If there is any threat of infiltration from Pakistani side of the Line of Control, it can be sealed off with razor wire but why the other side has been closed down for our movement,” he asked.
“These check points for everybody-male, female, young or old. Even the cattle have to virtually undergo identification parades,” he said.
Worse, the entry gates are closed after 5 pm and reopen at 7 am next day. “If a guest or relative wants to visit our village, he too has to undergo the humiliating identification,” he said.
He said that while half a dozen villages are completely fenced with some designated entry and exit points, other villages are sealed in the back side facing the LoC.

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