Monday, October 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Fencing isolates 3 villages

Uri, October 12
As the Army continues fencing along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, three villages in the Uri sector in north Kashmir’s Baramula district have been left on the other side of the fence.

Hathlanga, Chiranda and Silikut villages, which fall very close to the LoC, have been left on the other side of the fence being erected to check the infiltration of militants from Pakistan, sources said.

Though by no means has the land been conceded to Pakistan, the sources said the agricultural land of the residents of the three villages has also been divided by the fencing, causing enormous hardships to them.

According to revenue records available at Baramula district headquarters, the total area of the three villages is 565 hectares with a population of around 2,000.

Residents of the villages are perturbed due to fencing as they will have to unnecessarily traverse long distances just to tend to one piece of land divided by the fence.

A defence spokesman sought to clarify that the fencing had been carried out after assessing the ground situation and security scenario in the area.

“We have to erect the fence according to its effectiveness in serving the purpose. It does not mean that the villages and their residents have been handed over to Pakistan,” defence spokesman Major Sehgal told PTI here.

Major Sehgal said the Army was deployed beyond the fence and villagers could cross it easily but at proper gates built on the roads.

The countryside short cuts would be affected due to the fencing but as per the norms, manned gates would be erected at every 500 metres to 1 km, he said.

He said “as far as my knowledge of the villages is concerned, the residents carry identity cards issued by various authorised officials. They will have to carry them on their person all the time”.

The spokesman said it was a wrong notion that the fencing would leave the villages into the ‘no man’s land’ along the border.

One has to see the fencing in Rajasthan and Punjab before coming to any conclusion. Many houses are on the other side of the fence in these states but the residents move across freely, he added.

The Uri sector along with Tangdhar, Gurez, Keran, Karnah and Teetwal sectors have been frequently used by militants for infiltrating and exfiltrating from the Kashmir valley, prompting the defence authorities to erect the fence for proper surveillance of the human movement in the border areas. — PTI

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