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Bunkers continue to be elusive for villagers near LoC in J-K

Cleaning the picture of his late family members, Soudaghar Mal, whose family was killed in a cross border shelling by Pakistan, reminisces that they might have survived had the bunkers been built before.

Due to increasing ceasefire violations by Pakistan, the Central government had launched a scheme to build a bunker in every house in villages near the Line of Control (LoC).

But according to locals, not many bunkers have been constructed even after years.

"I just wish the same doesn't happen to anyone else. I want a bunker in everyone's house. So no one has to face something like this ever again. No bunkers have been completed in this area," said Soudaghar.

Soudaghar Mal is a resident of Chillayari border village in Jammu and Kashmir. He lost half of his family when a Pakistani bomb landed in his backyard killing his mother, father, and wife and injuring him and his two sons.

"The government should prioritise building a bunker in their (Saudagar's) house. Half of his family was killed when a bomb from Pakistan landed in their backyard. We live in fear. Pakistan can start firing at any time," said Yashpaul, one of the Panches.

Village Chillayari is less than one km away from the LoC.

"Some bunkers have been made in nearby villages but no bunker has been constructed in Chillayari, even though it is one of the targeted and affected areas. I think the government should give priority to these areas so that the people get the moral support they need and don't feel left out," said Sarpanch Reema Choudhary.

Pakistan violated the ceasefire 167 times in 2017, 204 times in 2016, 305 times in 2015 and 127 times in 2014. When it comes to the death toll, 109 people died in 2017 alone, including 59 BSF personnel.