Normalcy returning, but border residents say they still live in fear in J&K
Even as life seems to have returned to normal in this border township in Jammu and Kashmir nearly a month after firings from across the border, people here still spend sleepless nights fearing that Pakistan might once again try to "stab them in the back".
Arnia: Even as life seems to have returned to normal in this border township in Jammu and Kashmir nearly a month after firings from across the border, people here still spend sleepless nights fearing that Pakistan might once again try to "stab them in the back".
The border belt here was converted into a "ghost town" when a month ago Pakistan had resorted to unprovoked firing on the civilian population, killing 11 civilians and injuring more than 100 on the Indian side.
"Once a bustling town, this place had become a ghost town after the Pakistani side attacked the civilian population here. But now life has slowly started limping back to normalcy," said Arnia resident Vishal Mehra.
Majority of the residents of this border belt who were forced to take shelter in the government-run relief camp after ceasefire violations by the Pakistani side have now returned to their houses, but they still live in fear.
"By attacking the civilian population, Pakistan stabbed us in the back. Even though we have returned to our houses, we still spend sleepless nights in the fear that the Pakistani side might stab us once again in our back," another resident Krishan Chand Mehra (69) said.
"Any loud noise, especially during the night, scares the hell out of us," Mehra said.
The residents here say even though they have returned to their houses, they still feel a sense of insecurity.
"We keep a vigil during the night, as last time they attacked us when we were fast asleep. Life will never be the same as a sense of insecurity is still around," Vikram said.
Farming is the main profession of the border residents here and they say they feel insecure to venture into their fields located just around the International Border.
"Last month, several of the mortar bombs fired by the Pakistani side landed in our fields. Our fields are in the direct firing line of the Pakistani rangers, so it has now become really difficult for us to work there," said Purab Singh, also a resident of the area.
"Schools have resumed their normal activities, business establishments are operating normally. Though you might feel that everything has returned to normal, people still have that sense of insecurity and you can feel that uneasy calm in the air here," said Madan lal, a local resident.
"Even if everything returns to normal, how can we forget how celebrations were converted into mourning," Lal said.
Arnia is one of the biggest towns in the Jammu region.