LoC incident impact on a sweet tradition
It'll be a lot less sweet meeting with the neighbour at Attari this Independence Day. It's a tradition at the Attari-Wagah joint check post that Pakistani Rangers and the Border Security Force (BSF) exchange sweets on August 14 and 15, their respective anniversaries of freedom from the British rule.punjab Updated: Aug 13, 2013 21:56 IST
It'll be a lot less sweet meeting with the neighbour at Attari this Independence Day.
It's a tradition at the Attari-Wagah joint check post that Pakistani Rangers and the Border Security Force (BSF) exchange sweets on August 14 and 15, their respective anniversaries of freedom from the British rule. The killing of five Indian soldiers on the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, however, has embittered the country so much that respecting its sentiments, the BSF will keep the ceremony modest this year.
Many non-government organisations involved in India-Pakistan peace efforts also have decided to cancel various programmes. After Eid, it's going to be another low-key affair. "We will accept the Rangers' sweets on August 14 and will return the gesture on August 15," said BSF inspector general (Punjab frontier) Aditya Mishra, "but the entire thing will be a very simple affair with no top official participating."
Asked if some people had taken a critical view of sweet exchanges at a time of tension on the border, the IG said there were traditions that could not be ignored, though those could be underplayed. "Since this border is peaceful, we feel that the tradition can be carried on," he said.
Uncertainty about candlelight vigil
Even after the Border Security Force (BSF) has allowed peaceniks to assemble at the Zero Line for a candlelight vigil, uncertainty prevails over the programme. It is likely that peaceniks will take the programme somewhere else on the border or maybe a few metres from the line. No peacenik from Pakistan is allowed to come to Zero Line, sources have confirmed.
"We have the permission but the candlelight vigil is no certain," said Satnam Manak, general secretary of Hind Pak Dosti Manch. It's all because of the ongoing tension between the two countries. We feel bad to have its shadow over the India-Pakistan peace festival," he added.
Hoping for peace, small group leaves for Pak
The South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) and Hind Pak Dosti Manch are not sending any delegation to Pakistan this time but carrying their hopes for friendship between the two countries, 12 peaceniks, including journalists, crossed over to Pakistan on Tuesday. "We are hurt by the incidents on the LoC, yet we feel that peace is the only way forward and people-to-people contact should continue," said senior journalist Chanchal Manohar Singh, part of the Pakistan-bound group. "Dialogue alone can solve problems," he added.