By Arun Joshi
On Thursday on the occasion of festival of Eid-ul-Fitr that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan , Indian and Pakistani armies revived the spirit of the bonhomie by exchanging sweets at three crossing points at the Line of Control that divides J&K between India and Pakistan.
This marks the end to the years of hostility when due to the heavy shelling at the LoC by the two armies resulted in casualties on both sides , and they had suspended exchange of greetings and sweets on the festivals of Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Zuha, Diwali and Holi. Today, it was revived with both the armies wishing each other and pledging to maintain peace on the borders., something that promises peace on the dividing line being a lasting affair.
The Sweets were exchanged at the crossing points of Teetwal in Kupwara district , and at Kaman bridge that connects the Indian Kashmir to Pakistan occupied Kashmir on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road , and Poonch-Rawlakot in Jammu region . The army has distributed pictures in which soldiers of the two sides are seen exchanging smiles and sweets .
Army spokesperson in Srinagar said that this was to revive the old-tradition of wishing each other on the festivals .
Barring a ceasefire violation incident at international border in Ramgarh Sector in Samba district of Jammu region early this month , the borders have been quiet. Not even a single shot has been fired at the 746- KM Loc that rises from Chicken Neck area of Jammu to the trans-Himalayan heights in Ladakh passing through the Pir Panchal range of Jammu and Kashmir region. The ceasefire on the LoC was reinstated on February 24 , and both the countries had issued a joint statement to this effect.
It was on November 26, 2003 – the day of Eid-ul-Fitr when the two armies had first entered into ceasefire agreement after several years of heavy shelling at the LoC and also after having fought the Kargil War in the summer of 1999. That had deteriorated relations between the two countries which suffered further following the terrorist assault on the Indian Parliament that resulted in the mobilization of the Indian army to borders. Pakistan, too, had brought its soldiers to an eyeball-to eyeball situation on the borders.
This ceasefire was also known as Eid ceasefire , essentially because it had come into effect on the Muslim festival in November 2003.
But after the firing and shelling assumed almost mini-war like situations in 2016 , the exchange of greetings and sweets was suspended . In 2016, Pakistan had sponsored a terrorist attack at Uri army camp in September that year. Twenty Indian soldiers had died. The things worsened further when Pulwama terror attack took place on February 14, 2019, in which 40 CRPF personnel; had died. The terror attack had led to India retaliating with bombarding the terror training camps in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express and The Tribune.
He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com