Along the LoC, remnants of ’71 war and a heartbreaking tale

Fifty-five-year-old Goba Ali was just five when he was separated from his parents following the 1971 war. Photos: Murtaza Fazily; Image: Eunice Dhivya.

Borders, they say, are just lines on land, and not hearts. But ask 55-year-old Mohamed Ali and he will tell you how a single line can break hundreds of hearts and homes. A resident of Thang near Turtuk in the Leh district of Ladakh, Ali -- more popularly known as Goba Ali -- lives in the last village on India-Pakistan border.

Ali’s father and brothers, however, live across the barbed wires in Franu village, the last post from Pakistan. Between them lies a gurgling river Shyok.

Turtuk was not known to the outside world until 2010 when the village was opened for tourism. Ever since, the area has attracted a good number of domestic and international tourists.

Geographically a part of Baltistan, it is predominantly inhabited by the Balti Muslim community. Apart from the picturesque place and lush green fields of barley and apricot, Turtuk and four other villages -- Chulunka, Tyakshi, Thang and Grari -- came under India during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

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