Pilgrims returning from Pakistan after observing the martyrdom day of the fifth guru, Guru Arjan Dev, have complained of 'shabby treatment' by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), which looks after the gurdwara affairs.
Of the 156 pilgrims that were part of an SGPC jatha, 20 returned and alighted at the railway station here on Thursday. The jatha had crossed over on June 8 and most members carried visas till June 18.
Jatha leader and SGPC executive committee member, Rampal Singh Behniwal alleged that they were treated shabbily by the PSGPC and the ETPB during their stay in Pakistan. He claimed that instead of helping out the pilgrims, the PSGPC created hurdles for them by changing the timings of programmes frequently and not intimating them.
Behniwal said that barring the 20-odd who had come back, the remaining members of the jatha were left stranded in Panja Sahib due to the confusion caused by the PSGPC.
The jatha also faced problems in arranging accommodation, he claimed.
"Only 20 of us were present at gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore on Wednesday for the martyrdom day function, the rest of the jatha members were left at Panja Sahib. At the Dera Sahib, we were not given accommodation," he claimed.
According to the SGPC member, the PSGPC was against observing the martyrdom day on June 12 as per the amended Nanakshahi calendar. The Pakistan based committee had fixed June 16 for the martyrdom day and they wanted that Sikhs who had come from India and other countries should go according to the date fixed by the PSGPC, he added.
Behniwal said that he had already intimated SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar of the developments in Pakistan and would submit a detailed report later. The PSGPC had asked the Pakistan high commission in Delhi to issue visas to pilgrims till June 18, even as the SGPC had informed the commission that the visas be issued keeping in mind the martyrdom day, as per the Nanakshahi calendar.