25 October, 2020

A Hundred And One Nights On The Edge

Jammu’s border villages grapple with death and ruination as Pakistan hurls across a rain of fire

Broken Lives
Relatives of Krishna, who lost his life, in Banglad
Photograph by Tarun Upadhyay
A Hundred And One Nights On The Edge

If all that warring nations do about ‘collateral damage’—an euph­em­ism for civilian casualties—is to couch them in pious platitude, squa­bbling nati­ons cover the matter in victimhood and reprisals. The villages that cower helplessly on the border in Jammu, receptacles of indiscriminate Pakistani shelling in this season of firefights, are largely left to fend for themselves.

In Banglad village in Samba district, about 50-km from south of Jammu town, a disconsolate Shiv Pal, 13, is unable to perform the shraddh rituals of his 8-year-old brother, Krishna, who died in the shelling on May 21. Shiv Pal, too, was inj­ured by the spray of splinters. Lying on a cot in his home, he passively watches his cousin performing the rituals.

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