Mumbai: Rights group, South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) on Monday urged the armies of India and Pakistan to open up regular channels of communication and curb escalation of cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir.
Condemning the use of "any country's territory for terrorist activities anywhere," the SAHR called upon the Directors-General of Military Operations of both armies to take steps in this regard and also appealed to the two governments to resume dialogue at the earliest and work towards peace in the region.
Expressings its "great concern" at the alarming deterioration of relations between India and Pakistan, SAHR said cross-border firing has now become routine activity with soldiers and civilians of both sides getting killed, the people on either sides of the Line of Control or International Border are severely hit with schools remaining shut.
"Unfortunately, even if the villagers want to escape this volatile atmosphere they are unable to do so as the paddy harvesting season is nearing. The only source of livelihood for majority of the people here is growing basmati rice," said SAHR's Chairperson Hina Jilani (Pakistan) and Co-Chairperson Nimalka Fernando (Sri Lanka).
In SAHR's perspective, "the situation has degenerated so much that common people in the two countries are turning against each other when they see deaths of soldiers and villagers in the bordering villages," said its India spokesperson Jatin Desai.
In such a scenario, Desai said it is the need of the hour for the civil societies of both India and Pakistan to jointly intervene for maintaining peace and harmony among communities.
SAHR appealed to the two governments "to respect the sanctity of LoC and IB, and immediately implement the Ceasefire Agreement of 2003, in letter and spirit".