People living along the Indo-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir today turned out in large numbers to vote for "change", recording 75% of polling in the forward areas.
Today's voting will decide the fate of Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is making his maiden attempt to enter the Lok Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir. "My vote is against the Pakistan bullets and terror attacks. We want Pak guns to fall silent permanently," Raj Kumar, a resident of Londi hamlet located near Indo-Pak border in Kathua district, said.
Kumar, who cast his vote at Londi polling station, said, "They (Pakistan) launch militants to engineer terror attacks against us. We are not afraid of them. We always believe in democracy. My vote is for change."
For over six decades, nearly 2.5 lakh people, living along IB in Kathua district, have lived through terror attacks, incidents of cross-border firing, cease-fire violations and mine blasts resulting in deaths of scores of people and injuries to hundreds of others.
Like Kumar, Kishen Chand of Pansar said thousand of families were affected during 1965, 1972 and Kargil War and resettled again. "We voted for new government at the Centre which will ensure that people live in peace along the border with a total thaw in cross-border attacks and firing," Chand said. Kathua, which is part of Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency, faced two major terror attacks in last 6 months. Eleven security forces' personnel, including a Army officer, were killed in a twin-terror attack in Hiranagar and Samba on September 26.
In another terror attack at Dayalachak in Kathua district on March 28, 3 persons including an Army jawan were killed. Last year, the Line of Control and the International Border in Poonch sector and Jammu frontier saw a series of ceasefire violations and militant attacks on Indian forward posts.
Twelve soldiers were killed and 41 injured, including 18 civilians, in highest number of 149 ceasefire violations and firing by Pakistan troops on forward post, civilian areas and patrolling parties along Indo-Pak border in 2013.