Wedding Service

As guns fall silent, wedding bells ring again in border areas of Kashmir

The silence of the guns between Indo-Pakistani armies along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir since February 2021 has brought back old memories of weddings among border residents as they can now hold the ceremonies at their homes, instead move events to safer locations.

With no gunfire and mortar fire along the Line of Control due to the reiteration of the 2003 ceasefire agreement between Indian and Pakistani authorities, villagers say they begin to rebuild their lives and have hope for the future.

“There was a time when we had to spend days inside underground bunkers to protect ourselves from the relentless bombardment from the entire line of control. It was even difficult to survive and organizing a wedding event was almost impossible in those days” said Irshad Ahmad, a resident of Tangdhar in Kupwara district.

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Ahmad, whose brother recently married, said nearly 200 guests attended the wedding. “There were festivities all around whereas in previous years we had seen only mourning as dozens of people were killed and many more injured in the bombings. We hope and pray for the ceasefire. the fire becomes a permanent feature because border residents are the worst victims,” he added.

A local KNO news agency reported that at least 250 wedding ceremonies have taken place this year in Keran, Machil, Bangus, Tangdhar, Gurez and Uri areas along the Line of Control in North Kashmir.

Three districts in northern Kashmir – Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara – share the LoC with Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and thousands of people living near the LoC in these districts have been battered by Indo-Pakistani animosity .

“Forget holding wedding ceremonies in our house, even during the funeral there was the fear of being caught in the shelling. But now the situation has improved for good and we are happy to have weddings taking place in our villages,” said Gul Zaman Khan, a resident of Uri in Baramulla district.

The year 2020 saw 5,100 incidents of ceasefire violations, an all-time high since 2003. Thirty-six people were killed and 130 others injured in 2020. Ceasefire violations led to the closure schools and people moved to safer places from their homes. .

As guns and heavy artillery fell silent on both sides of the border, locals hope that India and Pakistan will soon allow travel, tourism and resume, in particular, the famous Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service . Suspended in 2019, the road was initially launched as a confidence-building measure and linked Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.