On the occasion of Baisakhi, Raghuvir Singh, a farmer of village Changia, situated at the Indo-Pak International Border (IB), performed the rituals to mark the beginning of the harvesting of this year's Rabi crops.
Unlike previous years, this time there was no fear among farmers who performed rituals in their respective fields to mark the occasion as both forces of India and Pakistan are religiously following the ceasefire re-announced on February 25 to establish lasting peace on the borders.
"For the last 25 years, our entry into fields situated on the border was restricted due to unproved shelling from the Pakistani side. Every year shelling intensified at the time of harvesting but this year there is complete peace", Singh told International Business Times. He exuded confidence that farmers would get bumper crops due to ongoing bonhomie between the two countries.
"As forces on both sides are sincerely following the ceasefire, this time farmers had fearlessly cultivated their land beyond the fence with the help of the local administration and now they are hoping to reap the crop", says Singh, whose village is situated just a stone-throwing distance from Pakistan. Earlier farmers used to abandon their land, situated beyond the fence, uncultivated due to fear of shelling.
Ram Prashad, a farmer of village Londi of Hiranagar sector of Kathua district, told IBT that for the first time forces of both the countries are following the truce pact faithfully. "There is complete peace and tranquility on the border after February 25", says Prashad, adding, "due to timely rains and peace on the border, farmers are going to yield bumper crops this year".
Ceasefire announced in 2003
Truce pact between Indian and Pakistan was announced in the year 2003 but it could not last long. "Within a couple of months, Pakistan had violated the pact and since then there is uncertainty on the borders", Prashad recalled, adding, "Despite the announcement of a ceasefire in the year 2003, we could not go to our fields because of the fear of being hit by Pakistani bullets."
New pact ensures peace
On February 25, India and Pakistan announced to strictly adhere to a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in J&K.
The director generals of military operations of India and Pakistan reviewed the situation along the Line of Control (Loc) and all other sectors and agreed upon achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders since then not a single shot has been fired along the IB and 744-km LoC thereby bringing relief to the hapless villagers on either side of the border.