Chamliyal mela held without govt support, villagers send peace message

Despite denial of administration and security forces, the locals of Ramghar village in Samba district organized annual fair at the Hindu shrine of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, popularly known as ‘Baba Chamliyal’ at Zero Line along International Border, with religious fervor and send a message of peace to Pakistan.
Chamliyal mela held without govt support, villagers send peace message

Despite denial of administration and security forces, the locals of Ramghar village in Samba district organized annual fair at the Hindu shrine of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas, popularly known as 'Baba Chamliyal' at Zero Line along International Border, with religious fervor and send a  message of peace to Pakistan.

Sources said after district administration's refusal to hold this year's event, the locals of Ramghar and adjoining villages decided to celebrate the fair like past practice on their own.

"People in large number from state and outside participated in the fair with enthusiasm and seek blessings of Baba Dalip Singh Manhas," said Mohan Singh Bhatti, former sarpanch of village Jerda, Chak Nagar panchyat and a member of fair organizing committee.

"In past, Pakistani devotes would come in large number near zero line and offer 'Chadar' at Dargah but this year, due to non-involvement of security forces, the event didn't happen," Bhatti added.

Bhatti admitted that everyone present on the occasion felt the absence of Pakistani counterpart as people in large number from the other side would join the fair by offering 'Chadar at Dargah' and in return get 'Sharbat' (sweet water) and 'Shakkar' (soil) as 'parsad'.

"The followers of Baba Chamliyal are more in Pakistan than in India. I don't remember any year when this fair was called off. Today, when we offered 'Chadar' at Dargah on behalf on our Pakistani brothers, we actually missed them," he said.

Santosh Kumar, the priest of shrine said, "This year, people offered special prayers before Baba so that peace prevails on borders".

"The cancelation of annual fair is unfortunate and avoidably, governments should not take such decisions at the cost of religious sentiments of people," he said adding, "We prayed for peace, so that border becomes irrelevant and people easily come here to pay obeisance and we go there freely."

It is pertinent to mention, since 1947, the fair was annually organized at Zero line by Border Security Forces and Pakistan Rangers. The fair holds significance because shrine has its acceptability on both sides of the border.

As per history, Baba Dalip Singh Manhas was murdered and his body was cut in two pieces. The head lies in Saidanwali village of Sailkot district on the Pakistan side on Zero Line while body was buried in Chamliyal on Indian side.

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