While the country celebrates Diwali, more than 100 villages along the international border in Jammu region will not take part in the festival of lights this year as lighting lamps may draw mortal shells from across the border.
Surjit Singh of Chandu Chak said that like last time, shelling by Pakistani forces had spoiled Diwali for them this year too. “Who will light lamps when we know that they might help the enemy target our homes,” he asked.
Residents of over a dozen villages in R S Pura and Arnia sectors of Jammu district have already left their homes due to the shelling. “Diwali is not on our mind. Our primary concern is to arrange fodder for our cattle and two times meal for the family,’’ said Chamail Singh of Abdullian, who is camping with his family and nearly a dozen buffaloes and cows in someone else’s fields at Baspur Bangla.
The Jammu district administration has set up over two dozen camps to accommodate people migrating from border areas affected by the shelling. Only 500-700 people had moved to 10 of these camps, while 15 other camps are lying vacant, said Jammu Deputy Commissioner Simrandeep Singh.
Sources said that due to lack of proper arrangements at the camps, most villagers had moved to their relatives’ homes. Some are camping at open places away from the border as the camps do not have adequate space for cattle and provision for fodder. “Diwali brings joy to people, but we living on the borders are spending sleepless nights,’’ said Dev Raj of Baspur Bangla.