By Zaffar Iqbal
Srinagar, Feb 21 (IANS) Continued shelling from Pakistan is taking a heavy toll on the residents of Karnah Kupwara because the government has been dilly dialling on the construction underground bunkers in the border areas of Kashmir, a group of sarpanchs from Karnah, Kupwara, told reporters at Press Enclave here on Friday.
Abdul Hamid, one of the sarpanchs, said that residents of Karnah are highly vulnerable to getting killed or maimed by Pakistani shelling.
“There are regular ceasefire violations in our area and either people and cattle get killed or property is damaged. Our lives, livestock and property are in perpetual risk,’ Hamid said.
He said that a ceasefire must be established at the LoC and there should be no violations.
“The 2003 ceasefire between India and Pakistan had given us a lot of relief,” added said.
Another sarpanch, Khalid Badana, said that 60,000 residents in the area have been living on the edge due to continued shelling from Pakistan.
He urged the government to construct underground bunkers on a war footing.
“Last month there was shelling from Pakistan and all of us were praying for our lives,” Badana said.
He said they recently held a meeting with Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir) Baseer Khan and apprised him of the problems faced by the border residents.
He said Khan has promised them that the government would construct bunkers for the people in Karnah, but the work is yet to start.
Badana said that people of Karnah want the government to provide at least three to four underground bunkers for the residents in every panchayat circle.
“The government should construct a bunker in every house or build at least four bunkers in each panchayat circle,” he said.
The sarpanchs said that Karnah remains cut off from the rest of the country during winters and the government must take up the region’s demand to construct a tunnel at Sadna Top to provide unhindered connectivity to Karnah.