Poonch effect: Peaceniks yet to get visas | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Poonch effect: Peaceniks yet to get visas

punjab Updated: Aug 10, 2013 23:22 IST
Aseem Bassi

After cancellation of the Indo-Pak cultural evening due to the killing of five Indian soldiers in Poonch, peaceniks who annually exchange delegations and light candles at the zero line at Wagah on the intervening night of August 14 and 15, are still waiting for visas and mandatory permissions.

NGOs, including Hind Pak Dosti Manch, Folklore Research Academy and SAFMA, annually hold functions on August 14 to send across a message of peace. However, the fresh tension between the two countries in the wake of the Poonch incident has nearly jeopardised the events this time.

As the NGOs have already decided to cancel cultural night scheduled for August 13, the exchange of delegation may also get cancelled, as visas are yet to be issued to peaceniks from both nations. There is every possibility that the NGOs decide against the exchange even if visas are granted.

Not only this, the Border Security Force (BSF) is still to give a permission to the peaceniks to hold a candlelight vigil on the night of August 14 at the zero line.

Talking to HT, general secretary of the Hind Pak Dosti Manch and Punjab SAFMA incharge, Satnam Manak, said, "We are pained over the killings of our soldiers at the LoC and that is the reason that cultural evening has already been cancelled. As far as exchange of delegations is concerned both the countries are yet to issue visas."

"We were to send a delegation of about 40 persons and also receive a similar number from Pakistan. Firstly visas are not issued yet. Even after visas come, all the organisations will jointly decide on Monday evening whether or not to send the delegation."

On a question, Manak said that BSF was yet to give permission to them to hold candlelight vigil at the zero line. "We are having talks with the BSF. If we are not given permission, we will do it somewhere else," he said.

"We are working for peace for the past 18 years and such incidents definitely shock us and our hearts bleed seeing the pictures of the bereaved families of slain jawans," Manak said.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that a few persons, who had deposited their passports for entering Pakistan as part of the delegation, have already made up their minds to cancel the visit. This is all due to the tension at the LoC.

Permission to come from Delhi: BSF

A senior official of the BSF said, "Definitely, permission has been sought for the candlelight vigil at the zero line and we have forwarded it to our Delhi headquarter. Our job is to forward the request and now it is up to higher officials in Delhi and government to decide.