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Photoblog: Risking Life And Limb Is The Everyday Reality Of LoC Villages

02/05/2016 8:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Nasir Kachroo

Living in the fortified border villages in Indian-administered Kashmir is not very different from being in a war zone. Violence, landmine explosions and cross border-shelling between the Indian and Pakistani armies have forever changed the lives of the people living near the border. Thousands have lost their lives and property, while others have been left permanently disabled due to landmine explosions and heavy artillery shelling. Venturing into the forests to fetch timber or farming in the frontier fields are now fraught with danger because of landmines.

Yet, despite all this, the villagers are not crying out for justice, and are instead enveloped in hopeless resignation. Despite the promises of the state and central governments to provide relief and rehabilitation to the victims, justice and compensation continue to elude them. To them, now, decades of misery blending into each other are the new normal.

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The border village of Churanda Uri on the Indian side of the LoC has a single entry and exit gate for villagers. The village comprise 150 families and is home to two dozen victims of cross-border violence.

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Nazir Ahmed Masi (45) lost his left leg while working as a porter with the Indian Army on 5 September 2000. He is living in abject poverty and has five children to feed.

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The victims of landmines and border shelling at Churanda village have almost lost hope of relief and rehabilitation aid from the government.

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Fetching timber to stock up for the harsh winter 12 years ago proved costly for Shakar Bee (48), whose right leg was badly injured when a landmine planted in the forest exploded.

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Noor Din Khatana (60) and Mohammed Shafi Jinder (63), both farmers, have been fitted with artificial limbs, and find it difficult to carry out their daily duties.

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Nazir Hussain Najar (52) displays his border I-card, which features a picture taken before he lost his eye in the year 2000--a splinter pierced it during cross-border shelling.

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Noor din Khatana (60) inside his traditional kitchen. His leg was badly hurt in a landmine explosion, and he rarely ventures out.

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Mohmmed Yousf Khatana (60) ties on his plastic limb, which has been damaged for 15 years. He still values the limb, which was provided by an NGO.

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Working as porter with the army, Abdul Majid Khatana (60) is another victim of cross-border conflict in Churanda village.

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Elf Din finds a reason to smile as he walks past his mud house.

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Abdul Aziz Deeder (55) hopes that he'll get a new artificial limb soon as his current one is almost useless now.

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Eyeball to eyeball, soldiers of the Indian and Pakistani armies keep tight vigil on the forward posts of the LoC.

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