‘We’re living in hell, no one pays heed to our miseries’

Displaced border residents recount tales of misery as they battle government apathy

‘We’re living in hell, no one pays heed to our miseries’The administration’s apathy is adding to the woes of hundreds of border villagers, displaced again by border firing in Kathua and Samba districts.

Around 300 villagers have taken shelter at the Santoshi Mata Temple here, being frequented by politicians nowadays, but the displaced residents have received no major help from the authorities so far.

The administration has so far sent only one bag of rice, weighing 50 kg, and two bags of flour, weighing 50 kg each, for the 300 villagers.

The temple management has thrown open rooms for 300 women, children and elderly. The families are being provided food by sarpanch of the Bobbiyan panchayat Bharat Bhushan Sharma.

Sharma is also the president of the Border Welfare Committee — an amalgam of 33 border villages on the Zero Line from Regal to Paharpur in Kathua district.

“We are living in hell. No one pays heed to our miseries. We have been hearing for the past two decades that five marla plots will be given to us in safer zones, but nothing has happened. Now, the government has come up with the idea of community bunkers. They only rub salt into our wounds. We are not getting anything from the administration. It is our sarpanch who is arranging food for us,” said Pritam Singh (70), a resident of Bobbiyan village.

“Bedding is being brought by the villagers while I have made arrangements for their food. This morning, the administration sent a bag of rice and around 6.30 pm, two bags of flour were sent,” said Sharma.

“Children need milk and biscuits. No dispensary has been set up to attend to the ailing and the injured. The winter has already set in and people need blankets in the night but we are not getting any of these basic requirements,” he added.

Munish Singh, a youth from Bobbiyan, said politicians and bureaucrats should come and spend a night either in the villages being shelled by Pakistan or in the camps for displaced villagers. “I bet they will never take the risk. They can only do the cosmetic exercise of expressing solidarity and issuing orders of making arrangements,” said Munish.