Magnad Village (Jammu and Kashmir): Fear is palpable at the Magnad village in Poonch district near the Line of Control (LoC). The village defence committees are on guard here after reports of ceasefire violations at the international border.
"We are 50 village defence committee members in our village and we keep a close contact with each member. If something happens somewhere, we have made a signal system to create an alert," said Jalin Hussain, a committee member.
The surveillance, especially night patrols, has been stepped up after reports that Pakistan is trying to push in more infiltrators. The committee members have prepared themselves if they come across any intruders - they know where to take positions, load their rifles and communicate messages between them through whistling.
The village, which has a population of more than 2000, is situated just four kilometres away from the LoC.
On Saturday last night, a group of six to seven men was spotted in the Krishna Ghati sector along the LoC. There was a heavy exchange of fire, but the Indian Army managed to successfully repulse them.
"Whenever infiltration attempt takes place, the enemy provides cover fire. It is not a conjecture but I can say with confidence that infiltration attempts have been taking place," said Danish Rana, DIG Poonch-Rajouri Range.
Village defence committees in Jammu and Kashmir were set up in the late 90s. Villagers in far flung areas were given arms to counter militant attacks. In the Poonch region alone, there are 100 such groups, each comprising 50 members.
"The situation had improved in last 10 years. We were back in our villages but now there are fresh fears," said Lokesh Verma, a member of one such committee.
These committee members will guard their village through the night from any possible infiltrators or militants. Clearly, they are not taking any chances as they are the ones who are directly impacted by any development at the LoC.
Story first published:
January 14, 2013 09:33 IST