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LoC India-Pakistan is a ‘killing field’ for security forces and civilians: RTI

According to the RTI revelations, the Line of Control and India-Pakistan International Border have seen the highest number of casualties and deaths from cross-firing by both sides since Monday’s RTI.

According to Prafful Sarda, Pune activist, there were 14,411 cross-border shooting incidents between 2010 and February 2021. This claimed a staggering 267 deaths.

According to Sulekha, Director of S-JK and CPIO at the Ministry of Home Affairs, this includes 1,178 firings between 2010-2014 under Congress-led UPA governments and a shocking 13,235 between 2015 and February 2021 under Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA.

Sarda pointed out that 138 security personnel died in the border killing fields. They were 20 from 2010-2014, and 118 between 2015 and 2021. This is almost six times the number of deaths recorded over the seven-year span.

Similar to the situation with the 129 civilians who died, it rose from 18 (2010-2014), to 111 between 2015 and February this year. This is a six-time spike in the numbers.

The RTI revealed that 664 injuries were sustained by soldiers, 97 of which were in 2010-2014 and 567 between 2015 and 2021.

According to the RTI responses, civilians living near the border suffered 132 hits between 2010 and 2014. These numbers jumped more than fourfold to 576 during the NDA regime.

Sarda stated that the border was relatively safer under the UPA government. There were 38 deaths and 229 casualties in the civilian population.

He said that the number of jawans killed and 1,143 people injured in border skirmishes has risen sharply to 229 and 1143 respectively.

Sarda stated to IANS that since 2015, border brawls had been steadily increasing — from 405 and 449 (2016), 971 (2017) and 3,479 (2019). Surprisingly, there were 5,133 firings during 2020, which was the Covid-19 lockdown year.”

In the first two months 2021, 658 incidents of firing have been recorded, with 4 security personnel being killed, 6 injured, and 2 civilians being hurt.

Sarda said it was “scary” that the RTI revelations revealed how the borders appear to have become “unsafe” for both the security forces as well as civilian populations under NDA Prime Minister NarendraModi, compared to the UPA tenure of Manmohan Singh.

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