STATE TIMES NEWS
Jammu: BSF personnel and a few villagers on Thursday offered ‘chadar’ at Baba Chamliyal shrine after the annual Indo-Pak fair organised on the two sides of the International Border (IB) in Samba district was cancelled amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“There is no public function at the shrine of Baba Chamliyal today in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak,” Billu Choudhary, chairman of the management committee of the revered shrine, said.
The BSF officers and a few villagers offered ‘chadar’ at the shrine and prayed for peace.
“This shrine is the biggest example of communal harmony and people of both sides of the IB used to offer their prayers together.
We are in favour of good neighbourly relations between the two countries to usher peace in the region,” Chetan, the chief sewadar of the shrine, said.
The three-day fair usually attracts devotees from various parts of the country besides Pakistan as the shrine is located near the zero line in Ramgarh sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
The famous fair at the shrine of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, a saint popularly known as Baba Chamliyal, in Samba district was also cancelled in 2018 following the killing of four BSF personnel, including an assistant commandant, in unprovoked firing by Pakistan Rangers on June 13 that year.
Last year, thousands of devotees had thronged the famous shrine of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, popularly known as Baba Chamliyal, from different parts of the country.
While the fair is held for three days at the shrine complex on the Indian side, it is held for a week on the opposite side of the border in Saidanwali village of Sialkot district in Pakistan.
Pakistani nationals were allowed to come to the Indian side of the border to pay obeisance at the shrine till 1971.
However, after the 1971 India-Pakistan war, the practice was stopped.
Since then, only a delegation of Pakistan rangers comes to offer ‘chadar’ at the shrine and, in return, carries ‘shakkar and sharbat’ from the shrine for the devotees in Pakistan.