Indo-Pak troops extend Eid celebrations to 5 places7 November 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: For the first time, troops of India and Pakistan exchanged sweets, dry fruits and greetings on the occasion of Eid festival at five places on the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district and International Border (IB) in Jammu sector. The greetings on the occasion of major festivals like Diwali and Eid and days of national importance including Independence Day and Republic Day of the two countries are generally confined to Chakan-Da-Bagh on the LoC in Poonch district and Octroi Post on the IB in Suchetgarh sector of RS Pura tehsil. This time, however, in addition to these two points, Eid greetings were also exchanged by troops of the two sides at three additional points-Roshni at Mendhar sector on the LoC in Poonch district and Chamliyal and Bobiya on the IB in Ramgarh and Hiranagar sectors in Samba and Kathua districts respectively. Major R K Sen Gupta of Poonch Brigade along with other officers and officials of Army joined Pakistani troops led by Lt Col Javed Ahmed of 13 Balouch Regiment in exchanging Eid greetings at Chakan-Da-Bagh cross-LoC point in Poonch district at 12 noon today. Indian side gave five kg sweets and two kg dry fruits to Pakistan Army officials, who, in turn, handed over a box of five kg sweets to the Army. Troops hosted tea for the Pakistani officials. The celebrations lasted about half an hour after which gates were again closed at Chakan-Da-Bagh, official sources said. Chakan-Da-Bagh is opened every Monday for cross-LoC movement of civilians between two parts of divided State. Again, it is opened every Tuesday and Wednesday for cross-LoC trade. In an informal chat with selected reporters at Chakan-Da-Bagh, Lt Col Javed Ahmed denied that Pakistan Army was facilitating infiltration attempts or resorting to ceasefire violations on the LoC. He said Pakistan Army was itself facing terrorism in many parts of the country and was fighting them vigorously. Eid greetings were also exchanged by the troops of India and Pakistan at Roshni Post in Mendhar sector of Poonch district this afternoon. Senior Army officers of the two sides, joined by the local Army personnel, exchanged greetings and sweets at the LoC. Indian side handed over four kg sweets and one kg dry fruit to Pakistani Army. The Pakistan troops gave four kg sweets and one kg dry fruits to Indian Army officials. The Border Security Force (BSF) and the Rangers, who are often at the loggerheads with each other, also exchanged Eid greetings at Octroi Post on the IB at Suchetgarh sector in RS Pura tehsil. BSF Officiating Commandant S R Khan and Rangers Wing Commander Lt Col Qaiser Jaleel met at Octroi Post along with local officials and exchanged Eid greetings. The two sides handed over sweets to each other to mark the occasion. As against the LoC, where Eid greetings lasted about half an hour, the celebrations were over at Octroi Post in about 10 minutes. In addition to Octroi Post, the BSF and the Rangers also meet at International Border at Chambliyal in Ramgarh sector of Samba district and Bobiya Post in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district to exchange Eid greetings at local level. No untoward incident was reported from the LoC and the IB overnight. During last week also, there had been no ceasefire violation or infiltration attempt by the militants either on the LoC in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri or on the IB in Jammu sector. Meanwhile, the cross LoC Poonch-Rawlakote weekly bus service today remained suspended while trade between two parts of divided State on Tuesday and Wednesday will also remain supended in view of Eid celebrations.