The tension between India and Pakistan following the deaths of Sarabjit Singh and Sanaullah was palpable during the retreat ceremony at the joint Attari-Wagah border check post on Thursday evening with BSF jawans and Pakistan Rangers exchanging angry glances and stomping their feet more aggressively than before.
Soon after learning about Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah's death in Chandigarh, the BSF authorities sounded an alert at the border. Extra troops were deployed at the venue of the retreat ceremony to deal with any eventuality in case of a hostile reaction from people across the border. The area was heavily barricaded as the BSF stepped up the security in the wake of the tension between the two countries.
With a few minutes to go for the retreat ceremony, visitors on either side of the border started raising slogans to egg on the troops of their respective countries.
While there were thousands of visitors on the Indian side, many empty spaces could be spotted in the Pakistan gallery. Slogans of "Hindustan zindabad" were matched by equally high-pitched shouts of "Jeeve jeeve Pakistan" from across the border.
While BSF jawans and Pakistan Rangers exchanged hostile looks at the retreat ceremony, the aggression was also visible in their customary handshakes.
Though there were no reactions on Sanaullah from across the border, two Pakistanis were seen making aggressive gestures. Even the BSF took note of it.
Talking to HT, BSF IG Aditya Mishra said, "After Sarabjit's death, the BJP had staged a protest at the border. So we were not willing to take a chance in the wake of Sanaullah's death."