For 1st time in 61 years, no spectators at Independence Day function at Attari
The Border Security Force (BSF) is holding low-key functions on August 14 and August 15, in view of the coronavirus pandemicUpdated: Aug 13, 2020, 20:00 IST
Amritsar The Independence Day ceremony at the joint check post (JCP) of the Attari-Wagah border will be held without spectators for the first time since it started in 1959 this year. The Border Security Force (BSF) is holding low-key functions on August 14 and August 15, in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to organising a band display on August 14 (Friday evening), BSF personnel will hold a parade on August 15 evening. “BSF’s director general Surjeet Singh Deswal, along with other senior officials, will be present during the parade on August 15. No visitor will be allowed to visit the JCP due to the pandemic. Only men in uniform, wearing masks and gloves will be there,” said a senior BSF official, who didn’t wish to be named.
He said, “It will be the first time in the history of the JCP that the Independence Day functions will be organised without spectators. The ceremonial drill might have been suspended after the 1971 War, but not on Independence Day.”
In the first week of March, the BSF restricted the entry of visitors at the JCP to witness the Beating the Retreat Ceremony, a daily drill performed by the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers. With the infection not abating, only flag lowering ceremony is being observed at the border on a daily basis.
NO SWEETS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED
The BSF official added, “Due to the coronavirus, neither our force nor they (Rangers) will distribute sweets on the occasion of Pakistan and India’s Independence Days.” Forces on both sides had been following the tradition of exchanging sweets and gifts on festivals like Diwali and Eid, as well as on Independence Day and Republic Day functions.
The troops have also not been exchanging sweets on special occasions at the border since India abrogated Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019. The troops at Attari-Wagah border had exchanged sweets on Eid-ul-Fitr and on India’s Republic Day in 2019.