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After Kiran Bala row, SGPC rejects 61 applications for Sikh pilgrimage to Pakistan

Bala was a part of the Sikh jatha that visited historic gurdwaras in Pakistan but after reaching Pakistan, she married a Lahore man and managed to get six-month visa extension

punjab Updated: May 31, 2018 21:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Kiran Bala row,SGPC,Sikh pilgrimage
The Sikh pilgrims leaving for Lahore from Attari railway station in Amritsar. (HT Photo)

After facing criticism over the disappearance of Sikh jatha member Kiran Bala of Hoshiarpur who converted to Islam and married a Lahore man in April, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has rejected 61 applications for next two pilgrimages to Pakistan.

Hailing from Hoshiarpur district, Bala was a part of the Sikh jatha that visited historic gurdwaras in Pakistan to celebrate the foundation day of the Khalsa Panth (Baisakhi) in April. After marrying the Lahore man, Bala managed to get six-month visa extension.

This episode stirred a debate on fixing the responsibility of such incidents. SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal constituted a probe panel to check how Bala’s name was cleared for the pilgrimage.

Two Sikh jathas are to visit Pakistan to observe the martyrdom day of the fifth Sikh master Guru Arjan Dev on June 17 and the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on June 29.

The SGPC got 118 applications for the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev and 106 for the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of which 37 and 27 have been rejected after scrutiny, said SGPC spokesperson Diljit Singh Bedi.

Bedi, however, said they did not receive any case which is similar to that of Bala. He said passports of applicants whose names have been cleared by the SGPC have been sent to the Union government for further process.

“First jatha under the supervision of SGPC member Ravinder Singh Khala will leave for Pakistan on June 9 and return on June 18, while second jatha will leave on June 21 under the supervision of additional secretary Balwinder Singh Jaurasingha and return on June 30,” said Bedi.

First Published: May 31, 2018 21:11 IST