M A I N   N E W S

As peace returns, a Zero Line shrine passes the faith test
Dinesh Manhotra & Arteev Sharma/TNS

Chamliyal (Ramgarh), May 20
Faith can move mountains, and silence guns. Ask the new priest of Hindu shrine “Baba Chamliyal,” he’ll tell you what tiny dots on the map along the Zero Line on the Indo-Pak border mean when peace descends. For him, the handing over of the shrine from the BSF to the civil administration is an act of divine intervention brought about by the combined strength of the people on both sides of the border – over four-and-a-half decades later.

The Baba Dalip Singh Manhas shrine, popularly known as Baba Chamliyal 
is located in Ramgarh sector, about 45 km from Jammu city.

The civil administration will hold the centuries-old Chamliyal mela on June 28 and henceforth manage the shrine affairs. The 325-year-old Chamliyal mela is celebrated every year. Devotees from Pakistan receive holy ‘shakkar’ and ‘sharbat’ from the shrine.

The shrine was earlier maintained and managed by the BSF, which is manning the 198-km-long international border from Kathua, bordering Punjab, to Akhnoor, north of Jammu.

“We’ll now control the shrine affairs. The district administration earlier provided only logistical support to the BSF in organising the mela. The BSF looked after the shrine,” said Deputy Commissioner, Samba, Mubarak Singh.

He said the border was relatively peaceful. “About 1.5 lakh pilgrims from various parts of the country participated in the Chamliyal mela last year. As the situation has improved significantly, we are expecting more pilgrims this year,” Singh said.

Chetan Sharma, the newly-appointed priest, is anxiously waiting for the pilgrims from across the border. “I have heard they offer ‘chadar’ at the shrine during the mela every year. I’d be happy to receive them,” said Sharma.

He expects more devotees from all over the country to visit the shrine. “People in this border area are living peacefully, a result of the Indo-Pak bonhomie. The people do their jobs without any fear,” said Sharma.





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