MANGU CHAK: A day after a woman lost her life and her 14-year-old son was seriously injured when a shell fired from the Pakistani side landed in the compound of her house, the residents of this now abandoned village say that India must teach Pakistan "a strong lesson".
"Who does not want peace, but every now and then Pakistan starts targeting innocent people, in the past too several people of our village have lost their lives and again an innocent lady became the victim of Pakistani aggression," said Keshav Khajuria of Mangu Chak, adding the villagers were fed up with the "cat and mouse" game and wanted India to settle the issue once and for all.
The residents of this village, who have taken shelter in a relief camp, are mourning the death of Tori Devi. "This is not the loss of one family, but a loss to the entire village as we all are connected with each other and personally know each other," said Santo Devi, another resident of the village.
The border dwellers say they too have the right to live a peaceful life. "The border residents too deserve a peaceful life. This cat and mouse game has been going on for the past many decades and now it's time for India to settle the score once and for all and teach Pakistan a strong lesson," said Dheeraj Kumar, another border dweller.
The border residents say that for the past few years they "reaped the fruits of the ceasefire" after both the countries agreed for it in 2003, however, the peace did not last long.
"We started to live peacefully again after both the countries agreed for a ceasefire. We worked in our fields without any fear, but for the past few years since the Pakistani side started violating the ceasefire we have again become the sitting ducks on fire," said Karam Singh, another resident of Mangu Chak.
The villagers say civilians were not targeted earlier even when both the countries went for full scale wars. "Even when the countries fought several wars, the civilians were not targeted, at that time we were relocated by the authorities as a precautionary measure, but now we have become an easy target for the Pakistani side," said Sunder Lal (77).
The residents here blame successive state governments of "abandoning them" as their demand for a small plot at a safer location has not been considered.
"We don't demand bungalows, but just a small piece of land in safer areas where we can take shelter whenever the hostilities between the two nations increase," said Sarabjeet Singh, adding "we feel like an abandoned lot... The state government remembers us only when someone dies due to the Pakistani firing."