New Delhi: The age-old customary practice of exchanging sweets at Eid-ul-Fitr amongst army personnel from India and Pakistan at Attari-Wagah border turned sour this year. After continuous instances of ceasefire violations, Border Security Forces (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers decided not to carry out the celebratory exchange.
In the latest instance of ceasefire, 21-year-old rifleman Bikas Gurung from Manipur was killed on Saturday as Pakistani troopers targeted a patrol party along LoC in Rajouri district.
The unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan, especially on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, is highly unethical and unprofessional, an Army officer said, adding that the Indian troops exercised maximum restraint in spite of grave provocation.
This comes four days after four BSF personnel, including an Assistant Commandant, were killed in ceasefire violation by Pakistani Rangers along the international border in Ramgarh sector of Samba district on Tuesday night.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh had in May announced suspension of operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the month of Ramzan. It was clarified that operations would resume in case the security forces came under attack.
The Centre is yet to decide whether the ceasefire will be extended as the deadline ends on Saturday.
News18 reported Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir as saying that the decision on whether or not to extend the Ramzan ceasefire has not been taken yet.
“People in Kashmir welcomed the central government’s decision to suspend operations. We got a good response after the suspension of operations in Jammu and Kashmir (during Ramzan). Whatever be the next step, it will be based on their (Kashmiris) sentiments/betterment,” said Ahir.
The oncoming of the festival coincides with the killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar, on 14 June.
Speaking on the senior journalist’s murder, Ahir told News18, “We condemn the incident and stern action will be taken against the killers. Kashmir is a big issue for us and our government, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi will do whatever it takes to ensure peace in the Kashmir Valley. It is very unfortunate that Pakistan continuously interferes in Kashmir’s affairs.”
Earlier this year, BSF had also refused to exchange sweets and greetings with Pakistani Rangers at Attari-Wagah border on the occasion of the 69th Republic Day.
Director General BSF, K K Sharma, while confirming the non-exchange of sweets had said, "There were certain reasons behind it", hinting at continuous ceasefire violations.
The border guards of both the nations usually exchange sweets on major religious festivals like Eid and Diwali, and on nationally important days like Independence Day and Republic Day.