Plagued borderlands of Kashmir - Lives saved but livelihood lost


Collateral damage of the war zones – Aftershocks of gunfight in Babagund village of North Kashmir

The Babagund village of North Kashmir's Kupwara district, situated over the bank of a river, recently witnessed an 80-hour long gunfight between militants and the Indian army. The encounter broke out during the intervening night of Feb 28 and March 1 after the joint team of security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation. A fierce encounter started and two militants were believed to have been killed.In this 3-day long gunfight, five security personnel, two militants and one civilian lost their lives. The misery did not end here, in the encounter at least 4 residential structures and 3 cowsheds were raised to ground and about 20 other houses were partially damaged. The gunfight and explosions have severely damaged the Babagund village rendering it dysfunctional. However the local Auqaf(cooperative committee of citizens) have risen to the occasion and established relief collection and distribution counters in the village to rehabilitate the affected families again. Besides them, people are making online donations to afford all help possible.In the aftermath of the destructive encounter, about 4 families have been rendered penniless and 20 others lost sizable wealth and belongings.

Plagued borderlands of Kashmir in the aftermath of the war cry
While the MLA, Er Rashid, and the villagers are gathering funds to help the impacted families, they have a long way to go and hence the entire community is appealing to all to come to their aid. These borderlands are constantly under threat and the recent tension has brought them to a new ebb that is beyond reform by the local authorities and human rights organisations alone. Though an inquiry has been ordered by the human rights commission, the affected people are surviving on the 'langar' (free community meals) run by the neighbours and the Auquf committee till their coffers are strained. While there is no guarding against the collateral damage at the borders, indifference and neglect need not be the elements of this damage.

Unfortunately for the civilians, the fight to survive daily in these rough environs and circumstances overshadows the greater threat to his countrymen. In view of instant wrecking of the life they built in the span of a few hours, having a futuristic and all-encompassing vision is difficult. The authorities could help by being better equipped and better prepared for the perils that haunt the borderlands. The countrymen could shoulder some of the responsibility of rebuilding the neighbour's home.

Sajad Lone

Sajad Lone

Sajad Lone energetic journalist, from North Kashmir's Kupwara. Masters in Journalism, with three year of local experience.

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