27 July, 2021

Living On The Edge

While TV anchors ratchet up war rhetoric and patriotic fervour, people at the receiving end on the border pay a heavy, undeserved cost

Living On The Edge

In the ninety long years that he has lived so far, Mulkh Raj has had just one permanent wish: peace. He and his family have been living in the village of Trewah that sits literally on the edge: perched on the international border with Pakistan in the RS Pura sector, about 30 km from Jammu. The aroma of the Basmati grown in these parts has long been overtaken by the smell of gunpowder, children at the makeshift camp at the Salehar Higher Secondary School play with exploded shell parts and unexploded bullets as if it is the most natural thing for them to do.

Welcome to one of the oldest conflict zones in the world. The border dispute between India and Pakistan remains unresolved even after 64 years, and nobody bears the brunt of that uncertainty more than the villages along the 198-km-long IB and 749-km-long Line of Control with Jammu and Kashmir. The two countries did enter into a formal ceasefire agreement on the midnight of November 25, 2003, but frequent violation has been more the norm than the exception (see graphic below). The last two months have seen some...

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