Black Start To 2015 In Samba Village

4 January 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amir Karim Tantray

Bain: This year has not started on a good note for residents of Bain village in the Samba sector. The village has witnessed shelling on houses of civilians for the first time, causing widespread damage. One woman was injured in this village on Saturday evening when mortar shells were fired from the other side of the international border. Houses located in this village had never been attacked by the Pakistani Rangers prior to this. This year brought misery for villagers, who had been forced to migrate to safer places. Women and children had been sent to relief camps and to houses of relatives. Men had been taking care of the belongings and cattle left behind. 'Shells used to fall in fields near the village. For the first time, houses in our village have been targeted. A couple of live mortar shells are lying in the village, which is a threat,' said Satish Kumar, a driver and resident of the village. There was no firing or shelling from across the border since Saturday evening. People were keeping their fingers crossed that no shell would fall on rooftops and in adjoining areas. Such was the fear among village residents that the sound of a whistle or that similar to gunfire forced people to run to safer places for shelter. 'We spent Saturday night in the basement of a local hospital, a relatively safe place. When guns fell silent, we came out after midnight and headed home with the hope that our houses were not targeted anymore,' said Babish Kumar, another resident of the same village. Half a dozen villages in this belt on the international border had been vacated. Residents had either been accommodated in relief camps or had gone to safer places. Living in these villages was dangerous due to live mortar shells in a couple of houses. Mediapersons and local residents visited Sham Lal's house in the village as a live mortar shell was lying in the verandah there. The shell could explode anytime, but people gathered around it. None from the bomb disposal squad or the administration visited the area to defuse it. An Army team exploded a shell in Tilak Raj's house on Saturday evening. 'The shell fell in a room around 8 am, but did not explode. When the Army team exploded it, the intensity was such that the room collapsed and windowpanes of neighbouring houses broke,' he said.