‘India media forcing us to say surgical strikes were need of hour’
Baramulla: As tension amid counter claims by India and Pakistan over LoC firing continues, residents living near the de facto line in north Kashmir districts are panicky even as administration announced that no orders about their evacuation was received from “higher authorities.”
Local residents of frontier villages in Uri said that they are feeling “unsafe” amid increased helicopter movement by Indian army for last several days.
“We fear that there can be shelling on borders on anytime which can result in casualties and damage to properties and livestock. We have no safety measures or bunkers to safeguard ourselves,” said Riyaz Ahmad, a resident of Silikote village.
“Yesterday we saw a helicopter with red flashing lights and it was roaming throughout the night Thursday from Srinagar to Uri. It’s something which is not a good omen,” he said.
Farooq Ahmad, a resident of Gawalta Uri said that the army told local residents to move towards safer places because there was threat that Pakistani army can attack anytime. “We fail to understand what to do,” Ahmad said as he rued damage to their bunkers in 2005 earthquake and landslides in 2014.
“There were so many safe bunkers dug by the local people in past but these were all damaged and destroyed in 2005 earthquake and 2014 landslides. Now we have no safer places for our wards and livestock,” he said.
Indian army in many villages along the line of control told local villagers to remain alert because there is “chance of cross border shelling”. The army has dug fresh bunkers in several villages like Tilawari, Garkote, Churanda, Silikote, Gawalta, Salamabad, Saidpora, Jabla, and other places, the locals said. The army has also sent reinforcements towards the LoC.
“We appealed both the nations to resume peace process and dialogue to resolve their all pending issues including the main Kashmir,” Amir-u-din a resident of Salamabad said.
Mohammad Sayeed, a local of Uri town said that Indian media men along with their OB vehicles are also creating panic among the locals as they are reporting that “war will start soon.”
“Some of the reporters of Indian channels are making fake news as they are shooting mountains from Baramulla and are showing that they reached to borders”, he said.
He said some of the reporters were even “forcing” people to say “surgical strike was need of the hour.”
The authorities of NHPC also called fire service vehicles to Uri civil 1 and 2 to avoid any fire incident through cross border shelling if any.
Sub District Magistrate (SDM) Uri Showqat Ahmad Rather said there were no orders about evacuation of the locals.
“We have not received any instruction to ask local people to move to safer places yet. The situation is normal so far as maximum shops and other business centers including government and private offices are running peacefully here,” he said.
Deputy commissioner Baramulla Dr Nasir Ahmad Naqash said that life was normal in entire district including Uri.
“Even though there are no instruction from higher authorities to inform locals to move towards safer places, district administrative officers are monitoring the situation. If need arises, we will act accordingly,” the DC said.
Repeated attempts to contact GOC of 19 infantry division of army posted at Baramulla did not fructify but a senior army officer posted in Uri, wishing not to be named, said that there is threat that Pakistani army may target army posts in Uri sector.
“To avoid any civilian damaged, we informed all the villagers through local camps to be alert and go to safer places behind the mountains in case of cross border firing/shelling. The Indian army is ready to handle any situation,” he said.
Meanwhile dozens of families from the border villages of neighbouring district Kupwara have started to shift towards safer places.
Reports said that dozens of families from Chamkote, Teetwal, and Tangdar areas of Tehsil Karnah migrated after Indian army from local camps warned them to either stay inside their house or leave the villages which are located close to the line of control.