Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA)
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India-Pakistan Peace Day 2005
India-Pakistan Border (August 16)
*Candles light up Indo-Pak border, August 16,2005
AMRITSAR: Scores of candles lit up the Wagah Border, west of Amritsar as the seconds ticked past Pakistan’s Independence Day into the dawn of India’s 59th year of freedom. The veteran journalist Mr Kuldip Nayyar led a dozen people from both sides of the border in a now familiar but nonetheless emotional prayer for goodwill and sustaining peace between India and Pakistan.
Reflecting the sentiments of millions in both nations, Justice Rajinder Sachchar, film actor Nandita Das, Outlook magazine editor Vinod Mehta and two Parliament members Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of Sangrur (Punjab) and Mohammed Shaheen of Baramulla (Jammu and Kashmir) lit candles close to the Zero Line that separates Indian and Pakistani Punjab at Wagah.
They were joined by Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jehangir, national Assembly members Imtiaz Hussain, Chaudhary Manzoor Ahmad, and Rai Azizullah Khan.
Initiated ten years ago by Mr Nayyar under the aegis of the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch, the Candle Light Vigil at Wagah has been a regular feature that now attracts thousands of common people both from surrounding Punjab villages as well as other further off destinations. The huge influx of people has in past years resulted in unbelievable midnight traffic snarls at the border post.
This year, the Border Security Force had requested the organisers of the vigil and the accompanying cultural show to shift the venue of the celebrations a few kilometres down from Wagah to the grain market at Attari town.
But this did not deter the revellers, whose numbers quickly swelled up to more than 10,000 on Sunday night.
Local police personnel and representatives of the Folklore Research Academy, who had organised the cultural show, had a hard time trying to control the audiences whose collective enthusiasm closely bordered on turning unruly. At one point, the police were forced to resort to a mild baton charge to maintain order.
But amidst their many complaints about "police highhandedness," there was across the board consensus on the exciting prospects and possibilities of peace and amity between India and Pakistan. ASIAN AGE