Baramulla: There are at-least three villages in Uri tehsil of Baramulla district which lie beyond the fence erected by army and BSF on Line of Control.
So much so that if the people of Churanda, Soura and Hathlanga villages wish to visit Pakistan administered Kashmir, all they have to do is to cross a maximum of 20 meters. The distance, however, is dotted with mines installed by both Indian and Pakistani forces.
The fence, made of iron grills and concertina wire installed by Indian army to stop any infiltration many years ago, was laid beyond the three villages as the area was more vulnerable to attack from the other side.
The army and BSF strictly control the entry and exit points to the villages comprising some 150 families.
Most of the villagers in these villages are either labourers or work with army as porters.
The villagers said that the army has compiled a database of every individual living in these villages. In-fact, if a woman delivers a baby, the infant has to be first registered in the army database, only then it can be enrolled in municipal records.
The forces continuously patrol the villages in civvies owing to the proximity of security forces on the other side.
Nazir Hussain, a local, said that Ugwas and Khawaja Banday villages of Pakistani administration Kashmir are their neighbours on the other side of LoC.
He said that dozens of people, who tried to visit these places, have lost their lives due to mines in the field beyond their villages.
“We can hear their Azans five times a day but can’t pray in their mosques, because of LoC,” he said.
An elderly woman of Churanda wanted the two countries to allow the villagers from both the sides to visit each other.
“Our culture, traditions, customs, language and religion are same but we fail to understand why Indian and Pakistani army is stopping us to meet each other,” she said.
“Our relatives are living only 10 feet away from our home. When they close their door we feel it. When they speak louder we can hear it. But we can’t help them or they can’t visit our home only because of this imaginary line,” she said.
An army officer posted near the LoC said that they have installed the fence beyond the villages in order to avoid the direct gaze of Pakistani forces.
“We also feel that people should be allowed to cross the LoC and meet each other, but what can we do. We are as helplessas the people. The decision is up-to the leaders of the two nations,” he said.