This Article is From Jan 26, 2018

Burnt Houses, Dead Cattle: Life In A Border Village After Pak Shelling

While the shelling has stopped and people are returning to their homes. The Joera Farm, is a grim reminder how border hostilities destroy people and their livelihood.

The smell of burnt carcasses still hung in the air

Joera Farm, Jammu And Kashmir: An inferno caused by Pakistani shelling has engulfed Joera Farm, the last village near the international border. This village in RS Pura sector of Jammu and Kashmir has borne the brunt of ceasefire violations. 

After relative calm for the last two days, Mohammad Amin has returned home. But there is nothing left to call a home. Like dozens of traditional Kullas, his mud and thatched home is completely destroyed.The fire caused by intense Pakistani shelling has consumed everything, the family had built.

Amin had come to see if he could salvage his school certificates, Aadhaar card, ration card and the ornaments his mother locked in steel trunks. "There is nothing left. Look at these trunks. Everything is reduced to ashes. Where will I get my certificates and documents now. Ornaments of my mother are also destroyed in fire."

His effort to recover any other household item also yielded no results. Beneath the rubble, he pulled out charred utensils. "Where will I go now," he asks.

Right next to Amin's house, there was stable. The smell of burnt carcasses still hung in the air. You can only see the bones and flesh.

Dozens of cattle heads, cows, buffaloes and goats have perished in the fire. People say they left everything behind when shells landed in the village on Sunday. The villagers are now removing carcasses of dead buffalos. It's a loss of livelihood - their entire earnings come from selling milk.

"We fled after shells started landing and our houses caught fire. Our sheep and goats are perished inside," said Dawood Hussain.

With stacks of haystacks burnt in the shelling, managing fodder for the remaining animals is now a challenge.

Thirteen people, among them seven civilians were killed in the shelling by Pakistan over five days. More than 60 people were injured. 

While the shelling has stopped and people are returning to their homes. The Joera Farm, is a grim reminder how border hostilities destroy people and their livelihood.

"During Border shelling, it's us who are affected. Whether it's people from this side or other side. Both sides suffer," said Swarn Singh, a villager.

There have been more 100 ceasefire violations this month. While villagers are returning to their villages, people in Joera Farm ask where will they go.