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Sufi shrine becomes latest victim of Indo-Pak border conflict
6/13/2018 10:59:37 PM
Early Times Report
Samba, June 13: A Sufi shrine that manifests "compassion and peaceful coexistence" is the latest victim of Indo-Pak border conflict in Jammu and Kashmir. Ahead of the annual Urs of Baba Chamliyal-that sees participation of thousands of enthusiastic devotees from both sides of the border at the Zero Line-four Border Security Force (BSF) troopers were killed and five others injured when Pakistan Rangers targeted the Baba Chamliyal outpost in Ramgarh sector in Samba district on Wednesday.
The recent flare up in border tensions in this otherwise peaceful sector has triggered uncertainties over the upcoming fair-which is held each year on the fourth Thursday of June.
"It's really unfortunate. This has happened for the first time and that too in the holy month of Ramzan," Avinash Choudhary, a local resident said, adding that "Despite border conflict, this area has particularly remained peaceful. Thousands of pilgrims stand on either sides of the border to see a glimpse of the ceremony of offering of a chadar to the officers of BSF by the Pakistani Rangers to lay it on the Dargah of Baba Chamliyal."
These killings have cast an ominous shadow on the upcoming ceremony, which is more than 320 years old, he added.
The shrine is said to be a Hindu shrine of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, popularly known as 'Baba Chamliyal' which is situated about 42 km from Jammu and Kashmir's winter capital, Jammu. After the guns fell silent following joint declaration of November 2003 ceasefire by India and Pakistan, the shrine caught media attention and gained prominence. BSF for India and its counterpart Chenab Rangers of Pakistan mainly manage the annual fair.
Every year in Saidanwali village on the Pakistan side of the Zero Line, residents organise a three-day fair and wait for 'Shakkar' (soil) and 'Sharbat' (sweet water) of Baba Chamliyal's Dargah, which are believed to have medicinal properties against various skin ailments.
But the impact of growing militarisation in border areas is quite visible here as well. The local residents maintain that before the Indo-Pak war in 1971, Pakistanis were allowed to visit this side of the border, but now only Pakistani Rangers are allowed to participate in the festival, who offer chadar on behalf of the people of Pakistan. The chadar offered by Pakistan Rangers is then laid at the holy shrine of Baba Chamliyal by the senior officers of BSF.
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