Truce on Borders:

Peace, tourism, celebrations visible in 2022


Kashmir Magazine

Wahid

Since last year, the truce on Jammu and Kashmir international border has been held successfully till date, allowing local population to live their lives with peace and dignity and to carry on their professions and other activities with no fear of getting hit at any time this year.

Despite the hopelessness, this year was also a year of peace and order for the people of the border areas across J&K as according to officials only three minor incidents of cease fire “violations" were recorded along the LoC after armies of both countries agreed to observe a ceasefire.

The Defense Ministry has said that this year, Pakistan’s attempts to push in militants have resulted in 12 infiltration bids being eliminated along the Line of Control. "Eighteen foreign intruders were eliminated in these attempts while huge cache of arms and ammunitions recovered," it said.

"As compared to 4,645 ceasefire violations during its peak in 2020, only three minor incidents have been recorded since the understanding in February 2021 with only one incident during 2022," the ministry said, adding that the situation along the LoC has been largely calm, thanks to both sides' adherence to the ceasefire agreement reached by the Director Generals of Military Operations.

Meanwhile, the top officials of Border security force (BSF) said that about 22 attempts of drone infiltration have been made by Pakistan in 2022 in Jammu region.

The incidents of Cease-Fire Violations (CFVs) on J&K borders often result in fatalities, destruction of property, loss of livestock, curfews, and restrictions on movement, no or little access to schools, healthcare, disruption of agriculture and other commercial activities.

With the truce agreement between the two neighboring countries, the border tourism also picked up while as many sports activities including traditional polo was revived by border dwellers.

The tourists from across country have started thronging the border destinations since the beginning of this year that give an eyeball-to-eyeball experience with people across the LoC.

In order to promote Teetwal as tourist destination under Border Tourism in the Valley, the Tourism Department in collaboration with district administration of Kupwara, Lolab – Bungus -Dringyari Development Authority (LBDDA), Cultural Academy and Army had organized a border tourism festival on the banks of Kishan-Ganga at Teetwal near zero line.

The picturesque Gurez valley had also bagged the best offbeat destination award 2022 in India. It got the gold award for best offbeat tourist destination in India at an award function organized by “Outlook Traveler Magzine” at Delhi.

Horse Polo revived after several decades at the frontier Gurez sector in Bandipora district of as the Tourism Department had organized a grand festival at the offbeat tourist destination during this year. The major attraction of the day-long festival was a Horse Polo match which was played between two teams of local youth. The elders in the area said it was after around six decades that they have seen Polo match being played in Gurez again.

"Besides gaining popularity in tourism sector, the valley this year has got attention of the Bollywood film makers as it got feature in a movie named "Chahiye Thoda Pyaar" for the first time in the history.

Farmers along the LoC said they have been able to tend to their land including plots beyond the barbed wire fences. "Since the beginning of this year as things remain normal and peaceful new dawn of development has started in all the areas close to the Line of Control (LoC)," Mohammad Ashraf a border resident told Kashmir Magazine.

Other residents said due to peace on the borders the administration and tourism department have been able to promote the concept of border tourism, which has changed things altogether.

Around 270 marriages have taken place in the border areas of Kashmir region amid peace and tranquility with locals were seen celebrating wedding functions peacefully this year.

Praying that this pleasant atmosphere should always remain in the border areas like this year, the locals said they are happy to witness such celebrations after a very long time.

"Earlier we used to stay indoors for days together due to intense shelling from across the border but now here people are participating in marriages and other programs on a large scale without anyone fear," the residents said.

Similarly without any fear the border villagers in Jammu region were busy with their routine chores while children too were playing in the play fields, replacing the rattle of the gunfire that caused death and despair to the residents for decades.

Another border resident Mohammad Bani of Rajouri said this year the tourism arrived in border areas as local administration and security grid feels safe to allow tourists towards border tourist destinations amid pact in place. He said that damaged infrastructure including schools, residential structures, gathered pace since last one year while other developmental works are also in progress.

However, people have demanded some basic facilities from the administration. Better road connectivity throughout the year, construction of tunnels to bypass snowbound roads, electricity, quality education, quality health care facility, network connectivity are among the main demands which must be provided to all the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

 


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