AS the unrest which began soon after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July enters day 89 and despite tensions between India and Pakistan, there is calm on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Valley. After the army’s “surgical strikes’’ in the PoK last week, villagers living close to LoC right from Uri upto Gurez apprehended a new phase of cross border shelling between Indian and Pakistani troops on the LoC and a return of the old days when people were forced to migrate for the sake of their lives as shells and mortars landed right in residential areas.
In the past one week in Jammu, there have been constant violations of the ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani soldiers that has led to some panic among the civilian population living there; however, in Kashmir no significant incident has taken place along the LoC. Villagers in Uri, Tangdhar and Gurez areas, especially those who live at the zero line, have not left their homes and the ceasefire holds despite occasional violations.
Meanwhile, two big Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) initiated by India and Pakistan from 2004 to 2008 – the running of Karvan-e-Aman or Peace Bus between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad every week and the resumption of cross LoC trade — continue and many see this as a good omen for peace and an indication that the situation between the two countries will not deteriorate further.
After the Uri attack and another attack on the battalion headquarters of the 46 RR in the garrison town of Baramulla, there was fear among the locals as well as the security officials that in the coming days, attacks may increase as militants had managed to sneak into the Valley during past three months and establish their bases across Kashmir– some local youths have also reportedly joined the militant ranks.
The Uri and Baramulla attacks have seen the return of additional checkpoints in and around sensitive spots in the city as there are fears that militants are waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Since July, the separatist leadership had been rolling out a protest calendar every week. However, since last week, there has been a significant increase in the flow of traffic on the roads and government employees have begun to attend offices regularly although shops remain closed and open only during the relaxation period given by the separatists.