SAMWAN: Once heavily shelled by Pakistan, Samwan, a hamlet located on the LoC in the strategic Chammb sector, is enjoying a life of "peace, progress and prosperity" as guns from both sides continue to observe silence.
This peace, however fragile, is due to the year-long Indo-Pak border ceasefire.
Relieved from continual shelling it suffered earlier, people living on the tense Line of Control (LoC) now wish for a permanent ceasefire along the border.
The relatively longer truce has meant that people who used to live in constant fear and bore the maximum brunt of the Indo-Pak animosity, are now seen working right across the Zero-line agriculture lands and engaging in construction works.
"This belt has faced the worst shelling and firing by Pakistan troops over the years till agreement of ceasefire on this date last year. Since then, we have been living a peaceful life devoid of fear and terror," Sarpanch Anuradha told PTI here.
Anuradha, wife of an ex-serviceman, claimed that the Pakistan shelling and firing over the years has left over 25 people dead, and injured and disabled countless others, forcing many to migrate to safer areas.
The current ceasefire has led to bumper crops and a bounteous agriculture produce up to zero-line, Gopal Dass, a resident of Milan Di Khoie (MDK), said.
"After many years new houses have been constructed, children are studying freely in the schools and business activity is back on rails in these border hamlets, which used to be totally disturbed in previous years," Dass said.
He said with regret that due to ceasefire violations over the years his two brothers left the hamlet and settled in Jammu.
"It is because of the uncertainty they left the village. Now we hope that ceasefire agreement is honoured in letter and spirit, so that people who had left, come back," he said.
Children too are happy now as they study and play freely without fear and terror.
"We are very happy that ceasefire is holding for the past one year. We have no fear. We are now not forced to leave our homes and hearths due to shelling," said a class 10 student.
"We pray that ceasefire becomes permanent," he said.
The Indian Army, which has ever been engaged in a counter-offence to Pak shelling, is also happy and relieved that ceasefire was honoured for a year.
All the same, the force has not lowered its guard and is always on watch against attempts of infiltration from across border.
According to the official figures, there were 4,645 ceasefire violations in 2020, 3,168 in 2019, and 1,629 in 2018.
In 2020, till the agreement came into effect, there were 592 ceasefire violations.