Residents of Dhangri village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district did not celebrate Holi on Tuesday following the killing of seven people by terrorists early this year.
“We are still in mourning and have decided to stay away from the Holi celebrations this year,” local Sarpanch Dheeraj Sharma said.
Terrorists struck the village on January 1 and targeted several houses of a particular community before fleeing the scene, leaving behind an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
While five people were killed in the firing by terrorists, two others died in the IED explosion the next morning. A total of 14 villagers were injured in the twin attacks.
Holi was celebrated in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. Sharma said staying away from Holi celebrations was a moral responsibility for every one in the area.
“The entire village stands with the victims’ families. The whole village is paying their respect to the killed innocents who included a father-son duo, two minor cousins, two brothers and an ex-serviceman,” he said.
Saroj Bala, who is the only survivor in her house after losing both her sons — Deepak Sharma and Prince Sharma — thanked the villagers for standing with her.
“I have lost my sons but the entire village is with me and everyone has extended the best possible help,” Bala said.
She said the attackers are still at large but “I am sure our forces will eliminate them.” Meanwhile, many temples located near the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowshera sector of Rajouri witnessed a special plantation drive with the forest department encouraging people to plant saplings to safeguard the environment.
Divisional Forest Officer, Nowshera Nilima Shah said the main drive was conducted at Shiv Mandir Thandapani in which a number of devotees and locals planted Rudraksh saplings in the temple premises.
Number of plants were planted by locals and students to celebrate Holi while plants were also distributed among the locals and students, she said.
The temple management lauded the efforts of the forest department for conducting such a drive.
Similar drives were conducted at various other places including Shiv temple Makol and Lamman temple in which members of trust and devotees participated, officials said.
“The objective of J-K Green drive is to reach the maximum number of people to encourage them to plant trees,” Shah said.