36 families shift to PoK from Rajouri-Poonch
15 October 2000
The Times of India
Srinagar: Thirty-six families comprising 292 persons shifted to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) from Rajouri-Poonch recently. The villagers succeeded in crossing over to Pakistan though Army pickets are set up at places behind these villages located close to the border, the state government informed the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Saturday. Due to the prevailing security scenario and the infiltration encouraged by the ISI of Pakistan, intruders often took shelter in these villages, the government admitted and said unabated shelling on the border villages was also promoting the movement of people to PoK. The propaganda unleashed by Pakistan Television and the announcements from across the border on loudspeakers asking people to cross over to their side with promises of incentives was also a reason for the migration from India to Pakistan, the government said. Steps to prevent the people from going across to Pakistan had been initiated and these included counter-propaganda and asking the Army not to harass the locals during anti-militancy operations. The government said the people living near the line ofcontrol could not cultivate their land due to Pakistani shelling. Incessant shelling had killed 50 persons in Baramulla, 28 in Kupwara, 15 in Poonch and nine in Akhnoor recently. The government also said that 5,568 persons were killed in the state in militancy-related violence in the last four years. A sum of Rs 110 crore had been paid to their families as relief. A total of 10,401 persons were detained under the Public Safety Act in the state. Two of them, both militants from Pakistan, had been convicted so far. The government also informed the House that 2.16 lakh kanals of land had been occupied by the Army and other security forces without the approval of the government.