Booming guns give sleepless nights to residents along IB

As guns boomed along the International Border on Friday and Saturday, the thuds of falling shells could be heard in Jammu city, reminding people that how close the winter capital, having a population of 7 lakh, is to the battlefield.
People living in residential colonies of the Temple City looked towards the western horizon as border villages experienced heavy and sustained bombardment. They could even hear the sound of heavy calibre weapons being used all along Suchetgarh, Kanachak and Akhnoor sectors.
Jammu is separated from Pakistan by the 198-km International Border. The areas along the border have fertile fields in the northern India but the undulating land has greatly suffered due to continued hostility. While the 744-km Line of Control (LoC) starting from Akhnoor towards Rajouri, Poonch and Kashmir divides J&K from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
From the city centre, the International Border towards RS Pura is at a distance of 27 km while the Gajansoo-Kanachak sector is nearly 25-30 km. Akhnoor lies nearly 50 km away the city.
“Our heart goes out tothe people living near the border and soldiers who are defending our country. We are living in an undeclared battle zone since 1990 when insurgency erupted in Kashmir,” said Tarsem Kumar, a resident of Chinore.
The entire International Border and LoC resemble trench warfare scenario of World War I when armies of Germany, Britain and French were bogged down in western Europe, with respective forces maintaining the status quo but using heavy weapons to attack each other’s positions.
“Although only heavy mortars and automatic weapons are being used in the Jammu sector, nobody knows when the heavy artillery could be inducted,” said Inder Paul, who lives at Domana. Artillery and deadly air burst weapons are already being used along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch sectors.
“During night and day, we could hear the sound of shelling. The intensity of blasts explained how bad the situation was. Although there is no panic in the city, worries remain,” said Narinder Jamwal, a resident of Sarwal.
Lakhs of people have taken refuge in Jammu city since 1947. The city has become an oasis for those escaping the trouble-torn areas of the Himalayan region.

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