Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi began his three-day visit of Jammu and Kashmir, which has off late seen an escalated tension on the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB). Reaching Balakote area of Poonch district early on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi met with the families affected by the firing and shelling from Pakistan security forces. For over last two months, Pakistan forces have repeatedly violated the ceasefire understanding at the LoC and IB resulting in the killings of civilians and Indian armed forces. The firing and shelling has also left scores injured and massive damage to the properties of the villagers and residents living along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
This is Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to the state after it was ousted from power nearly an ago. Congress and National Conference governed the state between 2008-2014.
“I have come all the way here to share your pain and grief of losing your near ones,” Rahul told Azim, whose brother Amin was killed and another sibling Ramiz injured in the shelling.
The Congress Vice President further spoke to the families of six civilians including a headman and a teacher who were killed in ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Balakote region on Independence Day. Meeting the family of 52-year-old sarpanch Karamat Hussain, who was killed in the firing, he assured them of all possible help.
“People here are very worried, very scared…. These are valid demands. I think the government of India should look into it, do something about it,” Gandhi told the press.
He also strongly added that these residents of villages hit by firing and shelling due to the ceasefire violations need to be given a proper rehabilitation in safer areas. The Congress leader also demanded the government to provide the insurance cover for people and property including crops and the livestock.
“They say when someone is killed in terror attack, they get more compensation. Those killed by Pakistani shells get less compensation. They said the compensation should be same,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by party leader Ambika Soni and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief Gulam Ahmed Mir apart and several local leaders. He will also be visiting the Kashmir valley and Ladakh region during his three day visit to the state.
(With inputs from the PTI)