by Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, Asha Hans & Jatin Desai, PIPFPD
The ceasefire violations on the International Border and the LoC between Pakistan and India that have taken place in the past few months, after the ceasefire was agreed to in 2003, has been shocking. Over 550 incidents of ceasefire violations took place in 2014 and the Indian and Pakistani governments are busy giving each other a neck to neck competition with the number of jawans and civilians on both sides dying and many sustaining injuries.
People affected in India: One Border Security Force (BSF) jawan lost his life and a woman sustained injuries on January 5, 2015. During the first week of January, four jawans and a woman were killed in Pakistan shelling and firing.In the year 2014, 19 people including 5 jawans were killed and over 150 injured. More than 3,000 people in border villages in Samba and Kathua have abandoned their homes and are living in makeshift accommodations in safer places. (Source:http://www.kashmirtimes.com/newsdet.aspx?q=40127)
People affected in Pakistan: The latest casualties as on January 5, 2015 mounted the civilian death toll on the Pakistani side to four. Earlier, two civilians, including a woman and an 18-year-old boy died as a result of the firing. (Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1155068)
Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy is consistently demanding a complete stop to the ceasefire violations to both the Indian and Pakistani governments and implementation of ceasefire agreement of 2003 in letter and spirit. In November, after a series of ceasefire violations and border displacements the Forum decided to commission a fact finding team (FFT) to study the conditions of civilians in the border areas International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC)). A fact finding team consisting of Journalists, Human rights activists and Forum members visited the border areas in the Indian side from the 6-8th of November 2014.
The team visited the BSF headquarters in Jammu, BSF Border Observation Post (BOP) in Arnia, border villages like – Arnia Kasba and Trewa Village in Jammu district, Galar and Chiliyari in Samba district as part of its preliminary fact finding visit. Based on the visit of the FFT and its interaction with people living along the border areas a report was formulated that contains testimonies of people, findings and recommendations of the FFT based on the findings.
Some of the key findings of the fact finding report includes first-hand information on “The relief camps and the conditions in the relief camps, the conditions of schools, college and other education facilities, lack of rehabilitation measures and inadequate or lack of compensation, the life and livelihood loss in the border areas, the psychological and social disturbances to women & children living in border areas.”
“The drastic increase in the ceasefire violations is greatly becoming like a show of power. And, if we need a positive development and growth in South Asia we cannot ignore the issues between India and Pakistan. The border population is getting displaced at a massive rate and there are forced migrations in most parts of the IB recently after the recent escalation and this is indeed a very serious threat to peace in South Asia”says Mr. I D Khajuria from Jammu & Kashmir, A Fact Finding team member from Jammu region.
“The blame game must stop immediately and both India and Pakistan must look in to the issue of ceasefire violations more seriously” says Ms. Vijaya Chauhan, a fact finding team member fromMumbai.
Ceasefire violations and the basis of it, is what needs to be probed into. There are various ways in which the ceasefire agreement can be implemented as long as there is a will to do so from both sides. It is important for both sides to realize that positive dialogue processes are the need of the hour.
We appeal to the people and governments of both countries to give a joint call for restoring peace in the region.
A letter along with the copy of the report was sent to the President of India, Prime Minister’s office, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of BSF on the 11th of January 2015 and their response was sought. The Forum did not receive any response until the 20thof January 2015.
Please find attached a pdf copy of the report along with photographs.