Peace in air as people from India, Pakistan celebrate Chamliyal Mela
Ramghar (International Border), June 24: Instead of exchanging bullets and mortar shells, Pakistan Ranger and Border Security Force jawans for a change exchanged pleasantries as people of both sides of border gathered along the International Border to celebrate annual Chamliyal Mela today.
It was for the first time during last 15 years of armed struggle in the state that the people from both sides of the border along with Border Security Force and Pakistani Rangers celebrated Baba Chamiliyal Mela in a tranquil atmosphere.
A sense of pleasure was witnessed on the face of both Rangers and BSF personnel when delegation of Pakistani Rangers arrived on Zero line at Ramgarh sub sector along the IB. Sialkote sector commander colonel Rab Nawaz led the delegation. He was accompanied by two colonels, two lieutenant colonels, two majors and three captains. Atleast 30 civilians from Pakistan were also with the delegation, who participated in the Mela.
Rab Nawaz offered Chader at the tomb of Baba Chamiliyal. Shakar and Sharbat were loaded in tractor and trollies, which was unloaded at zero line for the devotees of Pakistan. The BSF personnel also exchanged mud collected from the area of the shrine, which people on the both sides of the border believe helps in treating chronic skin diseases.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistanis used to come to the shrine and apply Shakar and wash affected portions of their skins but after 1971 war India put a ban on the practice. Since then Shakar and Sharbat are being given to them by BSF personnel on the Zero Line.
As per the managing committee, about 70 thousand devotees from entire India visited shrine upto 2 pm and it was expected that more than one lack people would visit the place till evening. This Mela is being celebrated from the last 300 years and is celebrated on both sides of IB in memory of Baba Daleep Singh Manhas. The Muslim population on the other hand believe that a Muslim saint is buried at the place. From Pakistani side, it was celebrated at Sadanwali of district Sialkote and it continued for a week in Pakistan.
Excitement filled the air when BSF and Rangers greeted each other, shake hands, share sweets and exchange gifts among each other. Col. Rab Nawaz presented Sialkote made cricket bats and stamps to DIG BSF, Brigadier RK Mishra and in retaliation Mishra presented gifts to the family members of Col Rab Nawaz who also visited here to attend Mela.
Talking to media persons, Rab Nawaz said that friendly atmosphere along the borders have provided relief to both Jawans and the civil population of both the countries. Responding to a query that whether ceasefire would be continued, Col Nawaz said that cease is not the decision of forces but the politicians thus nothing could be told about its continuity. However he said that it should be continued in the interest of the people of both the countries.
Rab Nawaz and Brig. Mishra assured jointly that no infiltration or ex-filtration would take place along the border and Line of Control in future.
The devotees of both the country were very excited to talk to each other. "I feel pleasure when I talk to an Indian journalist for the first time in my life", said Adnan Nawaz , son of Col Nawaz. He added, "Our culture, language is same and it was my dream to see the people of Jammu Kashmir, which was fulfilled today".
"It is a great day for me to visit here", said Zahara, an 8th class student of Shakergarh area of Pakistan. Giving his message to the young people of the state, Jabran 19, said that only the youth could change the structure of the world. He appealed them to make their efforts in restoring peace so that the people of both countries would be allowed to visit in each other.
PDP minister of state for law and parliamentary affairs Manjeet Singh beside ex- R&B minister and present MP Madan Lal Sharma also attended the Mela.
Side lights of Chamiliyal Mela
· When a civilian delegate from Pakistan was asked about the Indian News channel popular in Pakistan, he said that he has heard about a newspaper named Greater Kashmir and watches television channel Sahara News.
· When Pakistani Rangers presented Cricket Bats and stumps to the BSF, a journalist suggested them to have a cricket match on this occasion on no mans land. On this Col Nawaz smiled back and said that he has no objection as he is the fan of this game.
· Two years old daughter of a colonel of Pakistan Rangers was among the 30 delegates to attend the Chamiliyal Mela .
· "I have a dream to see Indian administered Kashmir", said Zahara an 8th class student of Shakargarh area of Pakistan.
· The excited devotees of Indian side even tried to cross International Border to attend the Mela on to the other side of IB. However, they were stopped by the BSF personnel.