Pilgrims were screened regularly, says Takht Hazur Sahib management
Followed all norms of social distancing to ensure all stayed safe, say gurdwaras in Nanded from where pilgrims have returned to PunjabUpdated: Apr 30, 2020 22:57 IST
The Takht Hazur Sahib Management Board and the management of another gurdwara in Nanded, Maharashtra, from where pilgrims have returned to Punjab have said that they had ensured that the pilgrims stayed safe, and followed all mandates of social distancing, as long as they stayed in their accommodation.
With some of these pilgrims testing positive for covid-19, adverse and negative remarks have been made, on social media, against the pilgrims and these holy places. Takht Hazur Sahib is one of the five Sikh temporal seats.
Calling such remarks unfortunate, Takht Hazur Sahib Management Board president Bhupinder Singh Minhas told HT over phone, “We followed all guidelines of the government to prevent the spread of covid-19. We adjusted 332 persons in 200 rooms of our serais. We did not allow them to come out of the room. Even for partaking of langar, we allowed them to move out only in groups of 20, with social distancing. We also had their general medical checkup conducted twice.”
He added, “Linking the spread of the virus to the holy gurdwara is not fair. Had the governments evacuated these pilgrims faster, such a scenario will not have arisen. Neither pilgrims nor gurdwaras are responsible. This issue should not be given a communal angle.”
Baba Balwinder Singh Kar Sewa Wale, who manages Gurdwara Langar Sahib in Nanded, said, “We got all pilgrims screened thrice. Before leaving for Punjab, all were screened and found fit. We don’t know what happened on the way back that caused infection.” Most pilgrims were staying at the serai of this historic gurdwara, in the vicinity of the Takht Hazur Sahib.
“The sangat wanted to return, but had no option. It took one-and-a-half month for the governments to approve their going home,” Baba Balwinder added.
Quarantine Nanded pilgrims in gurdwara serais, instead of deras: Longowal to govt
After some groups of pilgrims returning from Nanded were quarantined in area-level Dera Radha Soami congregation centres in Majha, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak
Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal on Thursday urged the Punjab government to quarantine them in serais of gurdwaras instead of deras. “The SGPC is with the administration and no need will be left unfulfilled. The administration has quarantined Nanded-returnees at gurdwaras of Patiala, Mukatsar, Sangrur and Sultanpur Lodhi. It should do it at other places as well,” Longowal added.
“Efforts to bring back pilgrims, who were stranded at Nanded, due to the lockdown, are welcome. It is unfortunate that some people are making negative comments on pilgrims, which makes them feel alienated,” the SGPC chief added.