Attari march replay on Bangla border
Siliguri: The Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) will hold a joint retreat ceremony at the Fulbari border near here on April 27 on the lines of the beating retreat ceremony on Attari-Wagah frontier with Pakistan.
Krishan Kumar Sharma, the DG of BSF and Maj Gen Md. Shafeenul Islam, the chief of BGB, will inaugurate the ceremony in presence of senior officials of the forces of both countries and civilians, BSF sources said here on Tuesday.
"This is the first time that a joint retreat ceremony will start in north Bengal. It is a result of mutual deliberations during the DG-level coordination conference held back in 2012 among the countries. The proposal as a part of confidence-building measures to evolve better and cordial relations between India and Bangladesh and also to improve synergy and bonhomie among the border guarding forces," said a BSF official.
Sharma is visiting Dhaka now. He is attending a coordination conference of the BSF and the BGB that began on Monday.
"On the last day of the conference, the joint retreat ceremony would be inaugurated at Fulbari, with Banglabandha on other side of the border," added the official. Banglabandha is the bordering hamlet located in Panchagarh district of Bangladesh. Fulbari is located around 5km from Siliguri in Jalpaiguri district.
The decision to start the joint retreat ceremony has also been welcomed by the state. It has been planned to set up galleries, parking space, restaurants and other infrastructure to bring in more people to witness the drill.
"The display will not be aggressive like Attari in Punjab (on the Attari-Wagah border of India and Pakistan). It would be much softer note and will focus on the aspects of the Bengali culture that both these countries share among them," said a source.
The ceremony in Attari-Wagah border, known as beating retreat, was introduced in 1959. Similar ceremonies are held in two other locations of Punjab but those attract mostly locals.
The ceremony, BSF sources said, would be conducted every day during sunset from April 27 and onwards. There will be a drill by personnel of both BSF and BGB, followed by lowering of the National Flags and closing of gates.
The decision to introduce the ceremony has been welcomed by Siliguri residents and stakeholders of tourism industry.
"We are confident that in due course, it will be a major attraction for Siliguri residents as well as tourists visiting the region. The ceremony will also contribute in improvement of the local economy as inflow of people will increase in Fulbari. Tourists moving through Siliguri will have a good option to spend some time at the India-Bangladesh border in the afternoon hours," said Tanmoy Goswami, a member of the local travel trade fraternity.