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In Jammu, border villagers reckon with cramped nights in bunkers

The next few nights are going long nights for hundreds of families residing in villages along the International Border in Jammu with heavy shelling anticipated from Pakistan.

Published: 30th September 2016 12:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2016 12:38 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

JAMMU: The next few nights are going to be long nights for hundreds of families residing in villages along the International Border (IB) in Jammu with heavy shelling anticipated from Pakistan.
People there are so used to the shelling that they have built underground bunkers. Those less fortunate will have to head to the community bunkers built by the state government recently.
Border Security Force officials have advised their troopers patrolling the border to be extra vigilant, especially for snipers.
The sarpanch of Changiya village, Raghubeer told New Indian Express on Thursday, "We have become used to sudden bursts of shelling from the Pakistan side. Most of us have built small bunkers underneath our houses. I will spend the night in the bunker.''
On Thursday afternoon, the local tahsildar and sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) called up all sarpanches and informed them to instruct villagers to move at least 10-15 km away from the border.
Many villagers were reluctant. While some have gone to their relatives houses elsewhere, others said they would wait and watch. "How can we leave our houses and properties just like that? All of us highly appreciate India's surgical strike in PoK, but there will be consequences and we are ready to face it,'' Raghubeer said.
There was similar reluctance in Kaku De Kothe, a village of a few hundred families. Though worried, locals stayed put. ''We will take shelter in the community bunkers,'' said Surjeet Singh, a farmer. But the community bunkers are not too roomy. They can hardly accommodate about 40 people. The bunkers have two rooms: one for men and one for women.
A BSF officer said the force is expecting heavy shelling in the days to come. "They will obviously target us (BSF) and our civilians. But so far, we've seen nothing unusual on the border,'' he said.

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