Amritsar, February 17:
The Government of India has killed the sentiments of Sikhs by restricting the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) jatha (group) scheduled to leave for Pakistan to commemorate and mark the centenary events of Saka Nankana Sahib.
This was said by SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur after receiving a letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, while addressing a press conference at SGPC office in Amritsar on Wednesday evening.
Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “The restriction on jatha at the last minute after completion of all preparations was a testament to the anti-Sikh mentality of the Government of India. A letter sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India this afternoon stated that there was an issue of security and safety of the pilgrims who are Indian citizens in Pakistan and the Indo-Pakistan international border has been suspended since March 2020 due to Covid-19.”
Bibi Jagir Kaur said that this argument was by no means justified as a group of Sikh pilgrims had visited the shrines in Pakistan last year in November.
“If there was no danger then, how did the danger arise now? If there was any such thing then why the Government of India did not make it clear earlier during the ongoing process. The visas were issued by the Pakistan Embassy only after the inspection report of each pilgrim was done by the Indian and the state government agencies”, said Bibi Jagir Kaur.
The SGPC president said that now that the preparations were complete and passports had been distributed to the pilgrims, it was surprising to see a restriction on the jatha.
Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “All arrangements were made by the SGPC on its own to mark the centenary of Saka Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The SGPC also arranged buses for the pilgrims from the international border to Sri Nankana Sahib and other gurdwaras. Apart from religious ceremonies, langar and other arrangements were also made”, said Bibi Jagir Kaur.
SGPC president said, “It was an anti-Sikh decision to stop the pilgrims on the occasion of the historic centenary of the Gurdwara Reform Movement related to the history of Sikhism, which has hurt the feelings of the entire Sikh sangat.”
On this occasion interim committee aember S. Satwinder Singh Tohra, S. Bhupinder Singh Bhalwan, member Gurmeet Singh Booh, deputy secretary Kulwinder Singh Ramdas, S. Tejinder Singh Padda, aanager Mukhtar Singh, youth Akali leader Yuvraj Bhupinder Singh, OSD to SGPC president S. Amrik Singh Latifpur, Dr. Sukhbir Singh, superintendent Malkit Singh Baherwal, and director minorities commission Gujarat Bibi Paramjit Kaur Chhabra and others were present.
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