ABDULLIAN(IB): Days after ceasefire violations by Pakistan left three people dead and 17 others injured in R S Pura sector of Jammu district, an eerie silence prevailed in the border villages as normal life came to a grinding halt with locals fearing another attack.
"Even though the firing has stopped, people are reluctant to come out of their houses to do their daily chores as they are afraid that Pakistan might once against start targeting the civilian population," said Bodh Raj, a resident of Abdullian village which is stone throw away from Pakistan.
"The day-to-day activities in these villages have come to a halt," he added.
Three civilians, including two women, were killed and 17 injured as Pakistani troops pounded border areas of Jammu with heavy shelling and firing on August 28.
The BSF had retaliated strongly to the Pakistani firing and shelling in R S Pura and Arnia sectors along the International Border (IB) in Jammu district.
While residents of these villages who had moved to safer places are reluctant to return fearing that the tension along the border might flare up again, those who did not leave are afraid to venture out of their "safe zones".
"See, people residing in border areas are unsure of their future. Most people decided to stay back, but now they are afraid to come out as they fear that they might fall victim to the bullets or bombs from across the border," said Prem Kumar, another resident.
The early morning attack on August 28 with mortar shells and automatic weapons had turned several border hamlets in Jammu into a war zone, triggering a wave of fear among locals.
"Some are busy mourning their dead while others are looking after their injured," said Shambu Nath, a local. Out of the 17 injured in the Pakistani firing, 15 were taken to Government Medical College and Hospital in Jammu.
"We had received 15 patients... one was discharged after first-aid whereas four decided to go to Amritsar for further treatment. At present, we have 10 injured patients undergoing treatment, out of which the condition of one is critical," GMCH Medical Superintendent R Rattan Paul told PTI.
"One of the seriously injured patients had to be amputated," he added. Even though there has been no report of fresh ceasefire violation from across the border in Jammu region, residents of these villages are scared to come out of their homes. The locals, whose mainstay profession is farming, say that their livelihood has been most affected.
"We provide people with quality basmati rice, but the ceasefire violations have turned us into beggars as we now have to live on the mercy of others," Prem Singh, a resident of R S Pura, said.
Saying that the border residents were like "sitting ducks", relative of an injured, Shyam Lal said, "We want this to end for once and for all. We don't want to die every day."
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jammu-Kathua range, Ashkoor Wani said, "No doubt that the people of border areas are scared as many lost their lives and several were left injured in the firing."
He said that there has been no fresh incident of ceasefire violation reported in the last 24 hours.
"Some of the people had left their homes along the border to take shelter. While some of them have come back, others are reluctant to return. However, not many took refuge at the government provided shelters," Wani said.
There have been 55 violations of the border ceasefire agreement by Pakistan in August and over 245 ceasefire violations during the year so far.