`Wagah on East` to be unveiled on Gandhi Jayanti

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 14:48

New Delhi: The country`s first `Wagah in the East`, along the Indo-Bangla border, will be thrown open to the public this Gandhi Jayanti when Home Ministers of both the countries will witness a historic cultural extravaganza between the two neighbours.

The first retreat ceremony between the two countries will be held on the lines of what happens everyday between India and Pakistan along Wagah post in Punjab, sans simulated angry looks by border guards and heavy stomping of foot.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is expected to be present with his Bangladeshi counterpart at the Petrapole-Benapole border in West Bengal to inaugurate the ceremony on October 02.

"The historic ceremony will be held on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and I hope people from both the countries will enjoy the showcasing of our cultural legacy," BSF chief Subhash Joshi said.

The maiden ceremony, which will include ceremonial lowering of flags in the evening, will be conducted by the border guards of the two countries-- the Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) dressed in full regalia.

The BSF, on the India side, will create required infrastructure for the people to witness the event and will upgrade the logistics over a period of time.

The ceremony, according to the sources will be "friendly and refined" and will include renditions by famous Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore.

It is expected to be held from Friday to Sunday, however, last minute modalities are yet to be firmed up.

The proposal was first mooted in 2011 and it was pursued by the current officials in both the forces with Joshi giving special focus to the task in getting clearances from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Joshi, who is leading a delegation to Bangaldesh later this week for border talks with BGB, will personally invite Bangladesh Home Minister M K Alamgir for the vent.

The ceremony is also planned to be held at three other places in the east later.

They are Changrabandha-Burimari border (Tripura area) and Akhaura and Phulbari-Banglabandha frontiers (West Bengal area) which are part of the 4,096-km Indo-Bangla border.

India and Pakistan have been traditionally hosting the flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah-Attari border and the event is attended by a large number of people from both the countries as well as foreign nationals.

Greetings and gifts are exchanged by officials at this frontier on occasions like Independence Day and festivals like Diwali and Eid.


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First Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 14:48

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