Diwali is an occasion when everyone is headed home in order to spend time with loved ones. However, Indian armed forces stationed in Jammu and Kashmir not only stay away from home on Diwali day but they have to stay vigilant and alert along the Line of Control (LoC) in order to thwart any attempts of infiltration.
In Kashmir, the Border Security Force personnel are maintaining a tight vigil around the fence between India and Pakistan, despite all odds.
These Border Security Forces personnel celebrate the festival of lights with each other while praying for the safety and security of their country. The bad weather and early snowfall have made the task even more difficult on the frontline this year. This BSF patrol looks at every suspicious movement along the fence and continued even on the day of Diwali.
For them, Diwali celebrations are limited but their moral remains high despite adverse conditions. Away from these families, they celebrate the festival of lights guarding the fences even though the celebrations are subdued.
"Our celebration is in the celebration of entire country, we don't feel that we aren't celebrating Diwali at the same time, we don't think we are away from these celebrations," says BSF head constable Kishori Lal, while standing close to the fence.
These forces say that they are happy in celebrating the festival with their colleagues with whom they have developed a strong bond over the years.
The combing operations don’t stop even for a minute. Round the clock vigil is the only way to keep a sneaking enemy at bay. Jawans know, the Diwali won’t be any different. In this area, the lull is only broken by guns shots.
"We sometimes miss the celebrations, but then if people in India celebrate Diwali safely, because of us, I personally feel proud," says another sub-inspector Anuj Kumar, while patrolling the line of control.
After finishing their duties, some of these men gather at a local prayer hall. Here they Pray for the safety and security of India. These vigilant border guards have little time to celebrate before they head for another patrol.
These jawans say that they want people to celebrate a greener Diwali by avoiding the use of firecrackers to curb pollution which has made the conditions worse in the Indian capital state, Delhi.
Many miles away from the fence, celebrations are in full swing at BSF headquarters in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. BSF personnel have gathered with their families at the festival ground which gives them an opportunity to meet an interact with each other.
"These festivals are important for us. We work in a difficult situation but these festivals give us the opportunity to bond together and get together. We celebrate our service to our nation," says BSF Kashmir Inspector General, Abhinav Kumar.