Saturday, July 9, 2011

Exfiltrating cattle are the new border town blues for Kashmiris

To                                                                                      9 July 2011

The Chairperson


New Delhi.




Greetings from PVCHR.


Please refer to the following news from Tahalaka.

7 July 2011 Thursday


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Posted on 05 July 2011

Exfiltrating cattle are the new border town blues for Kashmiris

Iftikhar Gilani
Gurez, Kashmir

LoC fencing in Kashmir. Cattle from both sides stray across the border

Photo :Iftikhar Gilani

LIFE IN border towns has never been easy. People strive to win their daily bread peacefully when the guns are silent. However, for people living in Boduaab, Malangpora, Angaikot and Dander — four villages located in the picturesque valley near the Line of Control (LoC) — they are constantly worried about their livestock.

The threat is not from guns or poachers, but from the cattle's habit of straying across the LoC. The exfiltrating cattle have become a farmer's headache. "On June 20, some 107 cattle crossed theLoC, including cows, bulls, buffaloes and zombas (local hybrid of yak)," Sarpanch Abdul Aziz Beig said. "When we approached army posts, they were rude and said they are not here to guard animals," he said.

Since there is no mechanism to seek return of exfiltrating or infiltrating cattle, the villagers of Boduaab, Malangpora, Angaikot and Dander are trying to make a point to the governments on either side of LoC to save their livelihood.

Farmers are heavily dependent on livestock as the fertile land cannot be used for agriculture because of intense army presence. The villages with a total civilian population of 31,912 are surrounded by 26,000 troops of the 28th infantry division and a full artillery brigade.

Locals raised the issue at an awami darbar organised by Major General SK Chakaraborty and Divisional Commissioner of Police Kashmir, Asgar Samoon, who incidentally has ancestral roots in the area. "I came to know about this issue for the first time. It is a difficult and very complex scenario where people are losing their cattle," he said. Locals suggested the army call a flag meeting with their counterparts to seek the return of their cattle.

But Samoon admitted he could not give much hope. He would take up the issue with the Centre, who through a maze of bureaucratic desks, may ask the Ministry of External Affairs to raise the issue with Pakistan. But he was sceptical, whether anybody would take up the issue in New Delhi seriously.

"Infiltration and exfiltration of cattle was a perennial problem," local officials said. "But it is the first time that they have crossed in such huge numbers."

When our cattle ventured across the LoC, we approached army posts, they were rude and said they are not here to guard animals" Abdul Aziz Beig

Understanding what cattle mean to farmers, villagers on the Indian side 'try to push them back. If they do not go, they are auctioned,' officials at the sub-division magistrate said. "The money earned through auction is deposited in the treasury."

The police said that they had traced 66 sheep earlier this year infiltrating 'but they were successfully pushed back.'

Local Congress leader Hamidullah Mir has demanded a civilian arrangement between the two governments where local magistrates can attend the problem of exfiltrating cattle. "The arrangement also fits with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's vision of cooperative relationship between the two regions," he maintained. A single cow here costs between `35,000 and `40,000, which is a big sum for an ordinary villager anywhere in the country.

A Kashmiri officer jokingly said that since Gurez inhabitants never joined separatist campaigns and did not send their wards for militant training camps across the LoC, it is their cattle crossing over to join militant ranks.

Jokes apart, Mir said there is a mechanism to return strayed humans. Only recently, the Pakistan Army returned two teenagers from Poonch. "An identical mechanism needs to be put in place for cattle also," Mir said.

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Posted on 05 July 2011





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Sir, on behalf of PVCHR, I request you to look into the matter. Considering the increasing threat to livelihood of kashmiri, in these case, PVCHR requests the Commission to get the compensation to  Villageres. 


With regards,

Dr. Lenin

Secretary General -PVCHR

SA 4/2 A, Daulatpur, Varanasi-221002

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