Samba: Shattered and forced to leave their homes due to repeated ceasefire violations from across the IB, residents of villages in the border district who came out in large numbers to cast their votes on Sunday said they have answered the Pakistani bullets with their ballots.
"The ballot is our reply to the Pakistani bullet," Pawan Kumar, a resident of Ramgarh village of Samba district, said.
The voters here who came out in large numbers to vote in today's fourth phase of the ongoing Assembly election said that their vote was an answer to Pakistan.
"We came out in large numbers to vote and send Pakistan a message that we are not scared of their bullets," Rajkumar, another resident of Ramgarh village, said.
The two Assembly seats of Samba district where polling was held today recorded a poll percentage of 79.16 percentages with Samba at 77 per cent and Vijaypur at 81.31 per cent.
The residents of hundred of villages along the International Border (IB) on the Indian side are forced to leave their homes and cattle every time the Pakistani side resorts to ceasefire violation and fires on the Indian side.
"We suffer whenever there is ceasefire violation from across the border. We are forced to leave our house and cattle behind to take shelter at the camps set by the authorities," Mangat Ram, a local resident, said.
"In the past three months, my family had to leave the village several times. We don't know when a bullet or a mortar bomb being fired by the Pakistani side might just kill us. So whenever there is a ceasefire violation from across the border, we leave everything behind," he added.
Claiming that they had become "sitting ducks on fire" due to repeated ceasefire violations, the border residents accused successive governments of ignoring their plight and hoped that the next government will not only ensure development but also provide safety and security to them.
"We have decided to elect a representative who will help in providing us safety and security," Prem Singh, a local resident, said.