Chilliyari : After constant shelling from Pakistani rangers, Chilliyari – one of the worst affected towns on the International Border in Jammu now resembles a ‘ghost town’.
All the villagers have abandoned their houses and fled to safer locations. “The village is a ghost town now. Villagers have abandoned their houses to take shelter at safer locations,” said Satish Sharma, General Manager-Industries, who has been deputed to carry out relief work for the villagers affected by the cross border shelling.
The house of Shukantala Devi, who lost her life in shelling on Wednesday, lay in tatters with blood stains splattered on the walls and shattered window panes stand mute testimony of the devastation caused by the shelling by Pakistani troops. “The family was having their breakfast when a bomb fired by the Pakistani side exploded in the front yard of their house. The blast killed two women of the family including Shukantala Devi and her daughter-in-law Bholi Devi, while seriously injuring the remaining four members of the family,” said Suresh Singh, a resident of the Chilliyari.
Saudagar, the only son of Shukantala Devi who was also the sole bread-earner in the family was seriously injured and is now fighting for his life at a Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu. The hands of a wall clock lying on the blood soaked flooring of a room shows 7:47am, as if frozen in the time when the shell fired from across the border hit the house. A bloodstained yellow ‘duppata’ lies in the front yard of the house just next to the crater where the bomb had exploded. The smell of cordite and gunpowder still lingers on.
As a PTI correspondent was talking to some of the villagers who had returned to feed their cattle, another mortar shell fired from Pakistani side exploded just a few yards away. The villagers say they had to risk their lives to feed their cattle that they had abandoned back home.
“Soon after yesterday’s incident we shifted our families to Nanat village which is situated at a distance of few kilometres from here. We returned in the morning to feed our cattle here,” said Ashok Kumar a resident of the village. The residents here say that earlier the firing from across the border used to take place during the night, but now the villagers were not spared even during the day.