After 17 years, people heaved sigh of relief: Gurez locals
BANDIPORA, June 2: Locals in Gurez are relieved with the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan that has stopped intermittent shelling in its border areas after a long time now.
Scenes at the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir have always been marred with chaos due to constant ceasefire violations from across the border; troops clashing, and the shelling that would cause loss of lives and damages to the properties. However, now, one can get to enjoy a cup of coffee at the LoC and experience the situation from ground zero.
“Army`s main idea behind opening this cafe in Gurez is to introduce the culture of cafes and also help youth of the area by practically showing them how small businesses are run,” said an official who talked about a new café being sponsored by the army.
Youth are being trained in Cafe business for making various dishes by the Indian army. “Administration and the Indian army are trying to boost tourism in Gurez villages but we don’t have enough resources here to get trained in various fields. We can run our business and we expect more tourists to come to Gurez valley,” said Aabid Hussain, a local from Dawar Gurez.
The Indian Army has renovated a cafeteria near Dawar Gurez, welcoming locals, tourists and citizens from across the country as a sign of peacemaking.
Locals said that in the last 17 years, this is the first full year that a ceasefire has been respected and the first full year of peace since 2003. The ceasefire agreement between two countries results in peace among the border areas, the locals observed here.
Another local Mushtaq Ahmad (56) said that now they feel safe after ceasefire agreement and the valley has witnessed an increased tourist flow and youth now work as guides, some have started hotel business. “Now they are not dependent on anyone. We hope both countries will remain in peace and people around both sides will live without fear.”
Mushtaq Ahmad a president of hoteliers association in Gurez valley said that till 2019 every year in Gurez valley cross border shelling has hugely impacted the business of hoteliers. Gurez was the most feared place for tourists but times have changed and Gurez is witness to a huge footfall of tourists this season.” “There should never be any cross-border shelling again. I hope so,” Mushtaq Ahmad