The suicide bomb attack at the Wagah checkpost on Sunday night, which left around 60 people dead and several injured, has not scared the Sikhs of India from going over to Pakistan on a 10-day pilgrimage to their historical shrines and offering prayers for peace between the two neighbours.
This became clear when the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday decided to go ahead with its jatha of pilgrims that will go to Pakistan for taking part in the 'gurpurab' (birth anniversary) celebrations of Guru Nanak at his birth place of Nankana Sahib. The SGPC jatha of 759 pilgrims will leave for Pakistan by two special trains from Attari on Tuesday.
The jatha will head straight for Nanakana Sahib where the pilgrims will take part in the 'gurpurab' celebrations of the first guru on November 6. The other shrines that the jatha will visit include Panja Sahib and Dera Sahib before returning to India on November 12.
Commenting on the pilgrimage, SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh said, “Every year Sikhs from all over the world, including India, converge on Nankana Sahib for celebrating ‘gurpurab’, which is a very important event in Sikh religion and history. The Pakistan government has always made elaborate security arrangements for Sikh pilgrims and I am sure that this time too it will be the same. It is their duty to provide security”.
The SGPC secretary, however, regretted that of the 1,028 pilgrims in the list sent to the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi for visas, the names of 269 pilgrims had been deleted. He said that while some names had been deleted by the union home ministry in India, the others were not given visas by the Pakistan high commission.
CANADIAN SIKHS LEAVE FOR PAK
Meanwhile, a group of around 50 Sikhs, all of whom were Canadian nationals, crossed over through the Wagah check post on Monday. Despite fears in their minds in the wake of the Wagah attack, they crossed over with a prayer on their lips and with the hope that 'Waheguru' will be their guardian angel.
Commenting on the threat perception following the terror strike at Wagah, two Canadian Sikhs, Baljit Kaur and Surjit Singh, said, “It is a very unfortunate incident and our heart goes out to those who lost their friends and relatives. We demand that the Pakistan government make the best possible security arrangements for the Sikh pilgrims who are going to their country for a very important event. It is the government’s duty to ensure out safety”.
The two felt that such terror attacks were not in the best interest of the two neighbours.