Aggression was back at ‘Beating the Retreat Ceremony’ at Attari border on Thursday evening, in the wake of deaths of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh and Pakistani convict Sanaullah Ranjay following attacks by fellow inmates in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat and Jammu jails respectively.
The drill gestures had become hostile in January reflecting the political atmosphere, but had cooled down after some days.
Admitting that shrill drill had returned, a BSF officer said: “It was earlier cool, but had turned aggressive since yesterday.”
But BSF Inspector General of Police Aditya Mishra said the drill at the ceremony was the same as it had been before. “No change in it,” he said.
Till a couple of years ago, the BSF jawans and Pakistan Rangers would stomp their feet and display aggressive expressions on their faces.
India had approached Pakistan twice for toning down the gestures, but Pakistan had declined the proposals. The first such suggestion was forwarded in 2007 and the second followed 18 months later.
In a bid to support the confidence building measures, India and Pakistan had decided to do away with the aggressive gesturing during ‘Beating the Retreat Ceremony’ in 2009. But it did not work out soon.
But when the Border Security Force began putting into practice the toned-down gestures, the Pakistani Rangers decided to follow them to a certain extent.
However, they continued with foot-pressing and leg-stretching drill, which they considered as pride of a soldier and symbol of fitness.