Fear stalks jawans’ families in Valley
20 July 2001
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: With husbands, sons and brothers posted in the militancy affected Kashmir Valley, those at home live in constant fear. The fear that the next body bag will contain their dear one. Every knock sends shivers, and nightmares are a regular feature. News of attacks or loss of lives leaves them in cold sweat. Daljit Kaur, whose son is posted in Anantnag district in South Kashmir, spends her time engrossed in news bulletins. She reads the papers closely every morning repeatedly going over sections on militancy. “I''m proud of my son, but my heart goes out to him all the time,” she says. Such stories are common in and around Jammu. They have seen grieving families of martyrs, and each time it''s a close call. The next time could be their turn Coffins decked with the national tricolour showered with petals, the clicking of heels and salutes is what they have come to dread. The body of a soldier arriving in a nearby village is enough to cause mass insomnia. ''A few days back, a body came from the place where my husband is posted and it left me in a state of anxiety for days together,'' says Babita of Prithvipur near Bishnah. She was married three months ago to Vinod Kumar posted in Surankote, Poonch, a militancy affected area where encounters between forces and militants are a daily routine. She waits eagerly, aware that it could be months before he comes home. Vijay of Kotli Mian Fateh near Miran Sahib finds it difficult to answer the queries of her children as to why Pappa takes so long to come back home. ''I weave dreams for them,'' she says.