On the frontiers!
By: MS Nazki
Sunderbani which had a volatile LOC till February this year is silent and the place really looks calm draped in love, peace and tranquility! But Indian Army has to be on the vigil all the time!
- Army Commander Northern Command was there to check exactly that.
Sunderbani, Beripattan Jhangar, Lam, Noashera, Keri and Rajaouri are all well known places on the LOC both historically and the volatility which used to happen before the month of February this year ceasefire which has brought a bit of sanity to this place otherwise every second day some or the other incident used to take place. When the blazing fires of militancy lit up in Sunderbani back in 1990’s all the above places mentioned were major infiltration routes which were subsequently plugged as the Indian Army drove into the militants rank and file and decimated each and every move of theirs.
Though everything looks as if never ever anything called as violence happened here, yet the fact is that the place called as Sunderbani has many stories of 1948 war and militancy horrors to tell as to what happened down the years. In short the situation was bad but slowly and steadily everything was back under control!
Rajouri: Loc is a porous place. Though now the fencing has come yet, the fact is that if something untoward has to happen it will. But as of now everything has fallen silent and it’s the people who are breathing a bit freely though the infectious pathogen is holding them back home. Yet the Indian army has to maintain the vigil with eyes focused on the movement of the enemy sitting across and doing exactly the same. The problem is that it is not the Indian Army that creates fiascos and situations. It is the Pakistan Army that so far has created all the nuisance and till February this year they were doing it but then better sense prevailed on the Generals across and there is something called as peace prevailing but the guard cannot be dropped as Pakistan is capable of springing surprises like flying drones and dropping arms, ammunition, drugs and cash. In Rajouri incidents such as this have taken place and that is why I thought of mentioning this.
Agents, traffickers and facilitators movement can be ruled out although it has thinned out. The movement of terrorists was the ultimate tale of the fish that perhaps understood all the languages and thus thought could move everywhere and anywhere. The men coming from across thought that there were no borders for them as the fishes do not care for any, similarly for them too none existed. Initially they had the free runs but later the routes were all bottled up and thus started their annihilation. Pakistan has been forced to accept the fact that the peace doesn’t grow on trees, nor is it a commodity that can be produced in factories or mills. It has been a concept of books, must it stay that way for centuries! But for that Pakistan and the leadership has to get down to the books they have not read thus far. It is time to get into them!
I. A bit of history:
As far as the history of the township goes it was basically a transit point before 1947 where people moving to and fro to now POK and then back to Jammu used to stop for a break. They still do while moving to Rajouri and then further to Poonch.
- Sunderbani is named after an ancient spring (bowli) called Sunder Baan, Baan or Bowli is the Dogri name of spring of a specific formation.
- This was built by an old pious lady of this area whose name was Sundran. She was popularly known as Mai Sundran. So this spring was named as Sunder Baan. Initially it was called Mai Sundran Ki Baan which later became Sunder Baan. The place of its existence became Sunderbani.
- This spring was also known as Amb Wali Bowli as there was a big mango-tree near it which still exists.
*This Sunder Baan is situated in Sunderbani Town on the eastern side. It falls on the right hand side of National Highway while moving from Jammu to Rajouri
- The water of this spring is very cool, sweet and digestive. This source of water was used by the habitants of Sunderbani area before and after 1947. At that time Sunderbani was an unimportant part of village Bhajwal of Tehsil Nowshera (now Sunderbani).
- After 1947, the population of Sunderbani started increasing by the day. The reason was the mayhem that the tribes men created and the people had to cross over to escape certain death. This spring became a source of water for the inhabitants of this area and for the passerbys. The people used to quench their thirst with this clean and sweet water.
- The present National Highway then was a single road at that time which led to Bhimber and Mirpur (now in PoK). Only a few buses and trucks used to ply on the road. These vehicles used to stop at this place for rest. They still do as I earlier mentioned.
II. The topography and Military importance:
- The Northern parts of the Rajouri district are in the Pir Panjal range, especially the Thanamandi and Darhal tehsils. However, The Rajouri Tawi River (also called Naushera Tawi) and its many tributaries flow through the mountain valleys, making them habitable. The Ansi river similarly waters the Budhal tehsil.
- In the South, there is a wide valley between the Tain Dhar and Kali Dhar ranges (part of the outer hills of Himalayas), which is called either Naushera valley or Lam-Khuiratta valley.
- In between these two ranges, there is a lower range called Koti Dhar, which divides the valley into two parts.
- The Line of Control between India and POK runs along the southern Kali Dhar range for part of the way and the Koti Dhar range for the rest.
- The old Mughal Road into the Kashmir Valley used to come up from Bhimber, and pass through the Naushera and Rajouri towns to the Pir Panjal Pass. This is now cut off by the Line of Control. Also cut off is the roadway between Sunderbani and Kotli, which used to run in the Lam-Khuiratta valley.
- In the Poonch Sector along the Pakistan-Kashmir border, the Indian troops had taken up tactical positions in the important towns along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway at Sunderbani, Naushera, Berripatan, Bhimber, Mirpur, Kothi, Rajouri and Poonch. They were constantly being troubled by the invaders who had entrenched themselves in the hills.
- The Indian Army had a great problem at their hands i.e. provisioning of supplies not only for the troops but also for the forty thousand refugees. With the road link to Jammu under threat of being cut off, the only option was an air bridge to Poonch but there was no landing ground there.
- A decision was taken to construct an emergency airstrip at Poonch. Six thousand refugees worked day and night and constructed an airstrip within a record time of one week. This was the strip that sustained the operations against the Pakistani raiders and finally the Indian Army managed to drive them away!
III. Present scenario:
As it is necessary the Indian Army remains on alert here performing its duties as they should be. Though the LOC remains calm, the unpredictability of Pakstani Generals has to be kept at the back of the minds because this is not the first of its kind ceasefire. Plenty have happened before this and each time some or the other mischief is created by Pakistan or terror giants there due to which everything comes crashing down. Thus the vigil is a sustained round the clock one with not a blink in the eyes of the soldiers.
- To check the same out Lt Gen YK Joshi, Army Commander Northern Command visited the forward areas of Sunderbani sector.
- The idea was to review the development of defense infrastructure and operational preparedness despite challenging terrain and weather.
- He then commended all ranks for dedication to the job at hand and ensuring that top class vigil was maintained on this part of the LOC.
- Indian troops are always ready to take on any eventuality and that was once again proved as they were unflinchingly in their posts and bunkers keeping their eyes on the enemy ahead and thereby noting down their movements.
- This is the primary task and the secondary is to help the people out in these trying times which too is being done with care and the precedence has been set by Command Headquarters.
Angels want peace; devils want war! Wise man wants tranquility and creation, stupid man wants noise and destruction! By now Pak Generals would have recognized the values of the lines above. Why are they chasing shadows and poking their nose where they need not. If you stick your hand into a bees nest for the honey, don’t expect the bees to not come after you and then you call them savages or crazy. You’re the crazy one since you started it all. If peace and calm is prevailing on the LOC in Sunderbani, let it be like that for times to come!