Six civilians were injured after an unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan in the first week of August this year, along the line of control (LoC) in the Tangdhar Sector of Kupwara.
In fact, hundreds of families residing in several villages along the LoC suffer physical injuries, fatalities and loss of property due to Pakistan’s continuous ceasefire violations and it’s just gotten worse in the past two and a half years.
As per the information received by Jammu-based RTI activist Raman Sharma from the ministry of home affairs (MHA), there have been 8,571 ceasefire violations from 1 January 2018 to 31 July 2020. This, Mr Sharma says, amounts to nearly 10 ceasefire violations every single day.
The information provided by the office of director, security (J & K Wing) of MHA, also states that during the past two and a half years, at least 119 Indians lost their lives. These included the lives of 63 civilians and 56 security force personnel. Besides, 308 civilians and 300 security force personnel were injured.
According to Mr Sharma, “The reply that I received from MHA through my RTI application also discloses that as compared to year 2010, the aggression incidents by Pakistan at the border in Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2019 increased around 50 times and till July 2020 further increased 60 times. Whereas in 2010, there were only 70 such incidents and in year 2019, 3,479 such incidents are reported, 2,952 incidents of ceasefire violations have been recorded till July-2020.’’
The RTI reply further reveals that in the decade of 2010-2020, Pakistan violated the peace pact on borders at least 11,572 times and resorted to cross-border fire in Jammu and Kashmir, killing 240 Indians that includes 122 civilians and 118 security force personnel. The firing also injured 673 civilians and 594 SF personnel.
States Mr Sharma, “Every year the cross border shelling incidents by Pakistan are increasing. In year 2010, only 70 such incidents were reported that killed two civilians and five SF personnel whereas in year 2019 the number of Pakistan’s unprovoked shelling incidents increased around 50 times as 3479 incidents were reported that caused the killing of 18 civilians and 19 security personnel in cross border shelling. This year till July, 2952 cross border shelling claimed lives of 15 civilians, besides 38 others injured and also causing death of 8 Jawans and injuring 62 others.’’
As per this RTI information, five lakh rupees of ex-gratia cash relief is given to the family members in case of death or to the victim of more than 50% disability. Compensation for housing damages, crop and livestock losses, stay at relief camps and displacement, to those affected by cross border firings are also reimbursed by the Central government. As per the National Disaster Response Fund, compensation of Rs.50,000 is provided for loss of domestic animals. Besides, government of Jammu and Kashmir also gives relief to person injured as per the extent rules.
Mr Sharma had sought the following information in his online RTI application to the ministry of home affairs:
1. Kindly provide district wise detail of total Indian citizens who were killed in cross border shelling on LoC & International border area of Jammu & Kashmir between 01 Jan 2010 till date (July 2020).
2. Kindly provide district wise detail of total number of Indian citizens who were injured in cross border shelling on LoC & International border area of Jammu & Kashmir between 01 Jan 2010 to till date.
3. Kindly provide district wise detail of total number of cease fire violations committed by Pakistan on LoC & international border areas of Jammu & Kashmir between 01 Jan 2010 and July 2020.
4. As per policy, provide details of ex gratia, compensation being given by central government for loss of each civilian’s life in cross border shelling from Pakistan side in J & K.
5. Also provide certified copy of such policy, rule as mentioned in point no 4 of this RTI plea.
6. Kindly provide district wise detail of total Indian security force personnel martyred in cross border shelling on LoC & international border area of Jammu & Kashmir between 01 Jan 2010 to till date.
7. Kindly provide district wise detail of total Indian security force personnel injured in cross border shelling on LoC & international border area of Jammu & Kashmir between 01 Jan 2010 to till date.
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”