An atmosphere of change and easing of tension is visible during the retreat ceremony at the Sadiqi Joint Check Post (JCP) in the Fazilka sector. The relation between the BSF and Pak Rangers appears to have become more cordial.
After the completion of the ceremony, Border Security Force Commandant PP Singh hugged his Pakistan counterpart Amzid at the Zero Line. Although the stretching shoulders, daring glances and raising of the eyebrows is continuing during the flag lowering ceremony, both the sides have toned it down to some extent. "We always want to maintain cordial relations with the Pak Rangers," says Ved Kandpal, Commandant, 199 Battalion, BSF. While performing the parade, a Pak Ranger slipped and fell on the ground. BSF Commandant PP Singh enquired about his well-being from his counterpart Amzid.
The entry of number of visitors has increased on the Pakistan side, said a BSF official on the condition of anonymity, but he could not ascertain the reason behind it. On the Indian side, the schoolchildren outnumber the visitors. "To inculcate the spirit of patriotism amongst the coming generation is the aim behind bringing them to this historical Sadiqi JCP, says Ramesh Chuchra, Principal of SD Model High School who brought 54 schoolchildren to witness the retreat ceremony.
"I feel adventurous in seeing the farmers cultivating their fields till the last inch of the land in Indian territory," says Delhi-based poetess Poonam Matia who had come along with her husband to see the ceremony. The couple was excited to see the visitors on either side of the Radcliff line enjoying and waving at each other from a distance. There was a virtual competition in playing aloud patriotic and Punjabi folk songs on both the sides of the great divide which added to the joy of the visitors.