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Living in Kashmir: Families Caught Between India and Pakistan

Standing in front of a damaged tea stall at the Jura bazaar with his young son, Maroofa Bibi stated that he was living in "constant fear".

"When the firing begins, we rush to get into the makeshift basements of our home," she told CNN. "Power is interrupted and we are waiting in the dark with our horrified children and waiting for it to end."

Only this year Pakistan says that India has breached a ceasefire agreement by firing or firing its territory thousands of times. However, an Indian government source said that all truce breaches this year were committed by Pakistan.

The small towns along the militarized line that separates India-Pakistan controlled Kashmir are at the forefront of the ongoing tension in the disputed region. On both sides of the border, shelling destroyed buildings and drove families away from their homes.

Dispute for decades

For more than 70 years, people living in the disputed Muslim region of Kashmir have been separated by a ceasefire line, now called the Line of Control. Once considered temporary, it has since become a tightly guarded factual boundary that divides the two parts of Kashmir.
After their separation at the end of British rule in 1
947, India and Pakistan claimed the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a whole. And since then, it has become one of the most militarized regions in the world, as nuclear-armed neighbors continue to wage frequent violent struggles for the region.
Tensions have increased in recent months. In August, India withdrew the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir and imposed an almost complete interruption of communications for more than two and a half months.
  Under the Curtain: Kashmir Residents Fight Chicken Guns and Restrictions [19659010] Under the Curtain: Kashmir Residents Fight Chicken Weapons and Restrictions
Travel and Roadblock Hours Introduced, with millions of residents in Muslim single a region with a majority in India were cut off from their families in other parts of the country. Officials in India-controlled Kashmir have spoken of the mass arrests while residents said tear gas and pellet guns were used against Kashmiri citizens.
India stated that the course of revocation of the status was to ensure that the laws of the nation were equal for all citizens and to increase the economic development of the region, as well as to end the separatism and terrorism allegedly has been aided and abetted by Pakistan.

Pakistan has denied these allegations, saying its support for the fight against Kashmir is moral.

The move of New Delhi has also raised concern among Muslims in the region, who fear the government is trying to change the demographics of the region as part of a plan to create a Hindu nationalist nation.

Deadly Day of Violence

India and Pakistan most recently agreed to a ceasefire in border regions in November 2003, but the agreement has been repeatedly violated. This year alone, India has shot and fired at 2 608 border crossings, leaving 44 civilians dead and 230 more injured, according to spokesman for Pakistan's Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor.

However, a source from the Indian Government stated that there had been a 2500 ceasefire. 2019 violations, all initiated by the Pakistan Army.

On October 20, Pakistan and India exchange fire again, making it one of the deadliest days since New Delhi withdrew Kashmir's special status.

  Shells on display at an army base in Jura, administered by Pakistan, Kashmir, on October 22, 2019.

India said two Indian soldiers and one civilian were killed. Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat said India had managed to inflict significant damage on terrorist camps in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, killing six to 10 Pakistani soldiers and about the same number of terrorists.

Rawat claims Pakistan has been harboring terrorists and said Pakistan is not doing it. I do not want to emphasize the damage India claims to have inflicted, as "the world will know that no action is being taken to curb terrorist acts."

Pakistan, meanwhile, has claimed that five civilians were killed and six others injured in what it called "indiscriminate and trouble-free shooting" by India. Pakistan responded to India's claims that it was targeting terrorist camps and denied that it was sheltering terrorists.

Both sides accused the other of starting shooting and firing. On both sides, residents are left to deal with the ongoing tension damage.

People living in fear

The Himalayan city of Jura is located in the Nelum Valley, just 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the de facto Indian-Pakistani border.

To get to the remote city of Islamabad, the capital, you need to take a two-hour helicopter and bus over hills and lush, emerald green valleys – a visual reminder that this region of continuous, sometimes violent, disputes is sometimes called "paradise"

But on Tuesday, Jura seemed to be struck by an earthquake.

  A little girl stands by her father while cleaning rubbish in Jura, Neel Valley, administered by Pakistan Kashmir, on October 22, 2019.

Small and large holes splattered the walls of houses where plaster pieces seemed to have been blown. Pakistan military spokesman Ghafoor said all these were signs of violence since October 20.

"I lost half my livelihood overnight," said Pir Zada ​​Kasim Shah, standing next to the charred facade of his furniture and mattress store. Inside, his goods were scattered everywhere.

As the military-organized tour moved through the city, a small crowd of peasants moved behind them, shouting praise for the Pakistani army and cursing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A representative from China – who avoids making serious comments about the India-Pakistan conflict – also visited Pakistan. Yao Jing, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, told CNN that the increase in unilateral border action is alarming and that he hopes both sides will come to a dialogue to alleviate the suffering of the people of Kashmir.

China is also a significant participant in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, having its own claim for the Aksai Chin region of Kashmir along the Indian-Chinese border.

But Jura is not the only city affected that is affected.

  Damaged home in Jura, administered by Pakistan Kashmir, on October 22, 2019.

Across the Nelum Valley, home to about 191,000 people, other cities have also been targeted for strikes since October 20. According to the Pakistani military, about 60% of the residents of Shard, a village northwest of the Jura, were forced to evacuate over the weekend.

Three of the people believed to have been killed by an Indian fire on the deadly day of the shelling were members of the same family in Nousehri, a village under the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project about 40 km or 25 miles away from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

  Burned shutters, torn shop boards and wrecked car on Yura Main Street in Pakistan administered by Kashmir on October 22, 2019.

Hira Bibi said her husband, son and cousin were killed in the impact while sheltering in a tunnel. "We dragged the bodies into the tunnel and sat with them all night because we were too afraid to go out," Bibi said. "We couldn't even tell the rest of the family what happened."

Family member Tariq Mir stated that they had chosen not to conduct a proper funeral for the men as they were concerned that they might come under attack by Indian forces. He said Nusari residents started fleeing to cities or mountains for safety. "Our village has started to empty," he says.

Life in India-controlled Kashmir

India-controlled Kashmir is only kilometers from Nowshri, but to get there requires scaling the Himalayan mountain range and going through a highly militarized

"Here there is silence and fear, "said Faruk Big, council leader and resident of Uri, one of the most variable areas in India-controlled Kashmir, which is close to the Line of Control. "When their shells come, we don't know how many will come and where they will land."

  Security officers patrol a deserted road in Lal Chowk district in Srinagar on 19 August 2019.

In Uri, schools are inaccessible to most because buses do not run, Big said.

In the Kupwara area north of Uri, several houses were damaged in recent shelling, according to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Anshul Garg. He has sent a request to the Indian government for the construction of another 14,000 public bunkers. The Indian Ministry of Defense declined comment when asked about the request.

Why ceasefire violations occurred

As with deaths and ceasefire violations, there is no agreement between India and Pakistan over what triggered the deadly attacks earlier this month.

  Why Kashmir means so much to India and Pakistan

In a briefing during an organized media trip on Tuesday Pakistan military spokesman Ghafoor said Pakistan was not targeting civilians.

Instead, he argues that the current rise in hostilities is India's attempt to divert attention from the plight of those under curfew in India-controlled Kashmir.

India releases Pakistan

On Tuesday, Rinat Singh, India's defense minister, told reporters that India had never been on a crime. "India has never invaded another country and claimed even a centimeter of land in any other country," he says.

"But the Indian Armed Forces are capable and powerful. Whoever looks at India with bad intentions, then we will give a favorable answer. "

Sofia Saifi reports from Yura, Imad Mir reports from Nuseri, Suati Gupta reports from New Delhi, Muhtar Ahmad reports from Srinagar, Julia Hollingsworth writes from Hong Kong, and Sugam Poharelt contributes in 196561.
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