266-member Sikh jatha departs to observe Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death anniversary on June 29
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266-member Sikh jatha departs to observe Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death anniversary on June 29

The birth place of Guru Nanak, Nankana Sahib, in Pakistan would be centre of the celebrations

punjab Updated: Jun 21, 2018 22:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Maharaja Ranjit Singh,death anniversary,Sikh jatha
Sikh pilgrims leaving for Pakistan to observe the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh from Amritsar on Thursday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Thursday sent its officials to call on Pakistan authorities and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) to discuss the arrangements for grand celebrations on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, founder of the Sikh religion, on November 12, 2019.

These officials — Balwinder Singh Jaurasingha, additional secretary (dharam parchar), and Varinder Singh Thru, general administrator-cum-supervisor ­— were part of a 266-member Sikh jatha, which left for Pakistan by train from Attari railway station to observe 179th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on June 29.

“As the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak is being celebrated on a large scale in 2019, we will meet the PSGPC representatives and other Pakistan authorities concerned to chalk out the programme for the celebrations,” said Jaurasingha, before leaving for Pakistan from Teja Singh Samundri Hall, headquarters of the SGPC.

The birth place of Guru Nanak, Nankana Sahib, in Pakistan would be centre of the celebrations, though the Punjab government and the SGPC are gearing up to celebrate the occasion in a big way at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district too.

FIRST SGPC JATHA AFTER KIRAN BALA ROW

After the row over Indian pilgrim Kiran Bala, who went to Pakistan as part of the Baisakhi jatha in April this year but did not return, this is first jatha the gurdwara body has sent to the neighbouring country. Kiran, who hailed from Hoshiarpur district, embraced Islam and married a Lahore-based man.

Expressing satisfaction over the issuance of visas to the pilgrims, SGPC spokesperson Diljit Singh Bedi said, “This is good that all those whose names were sent by the gurdwara body have been issued the visa. Earlier, some visa pleas were rejected and it hurt their sentiments.”

From Attari railway station, the special train, which came from Pakistan to ferry the pilgrims, left for Pakistan at 12.45 pm.

“On day 1, the jatha will directly go to Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hasan Abdal, from where it will go to Nankana Sahib on June 23. On June 25, it is scheduled to visit Gurdwara Sacha Sauda and on June 26 it will visit Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore. After paying obeisance at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, Narowal on June 28, it will observe the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on June 29. Next day, it will return by train,” said Bedi.

First Published: Jun 21, 2018 22:30 IST