Srinagar, There is an eerie silence at Gundishut village in Karnah, Kupwara, near the Line of Control (LoC), some 200 km from Srinagar, a week after Pakistan resorted to intense shelling of Indian defence positions and civilian areas in the area.
Celebrations have turned into mourning for the family of 45-year-old Mohammad Sadiq, who was killed in Pakistani shelling last Saturday just outside his home. Sadiq’s elder daughter was about to get married this week.
Sadiq’s distraught family has postponed the wedding after losing its breadwinner to Pakistani shelling.
The festivities were abruptly cut short when Pakistani shells pounded the village. As the shelling intensified, Sadiq’s family, like everybody else in the village of 50 households, ran for cover.
The father of five died instantly as a shell hit him just when he returned home to save the wedding goods and belongings of his daughter and move them to a safer place.
“The joyful atmosphere has turned into sorrow and grief now… just three days were left for the wedding to take place, we had completed all the preparations,” said Shazia, younger daughter of Mohammad Sadiq.
“We lost our father; there is nobody to take care of us now,” she added.
Gundishut has witnessed major incidents of cross-border shelling in the past. Peace returned to this border village in November 2003 after the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.
But last week’s firing is a grim reminder of the pre-ceasefire days.
“About 50 to 60 shells fell in the village, my brother’s certificates were also burnt after the house caught fire. I could save just one goat, all other livestock perished,” said Parvez Ahmad, a resident of the village.
Despite being a border village, there aren’t many underground bunkers for civilians to safeguard against cross-border shelling.
Locals want underground bunkers to be constructed for saving themselves from shelling.
“We went to a neighbour’s house which had an underground bunker when firing intensified on Saturday to save ourselves,” said Shameem Ahmad.
“We appeal to the government to build bunkers for our safety. There is a lot of fear, we are not able to sleep at night, and we don’t know when the shelling will restart,” he added.
In last Saturday’s firing by Pakistan in the Tanghdhar sector in Kupwara, two soldiers were also killed.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat later said that launch pads across the LoC were destroyed in an Army action and 6 to 10 Pakistani soldiers were killed. He said an equal number of terrorists were also killed.