SGPC to probe how woman who converted, married in Pak got pilgrim visa recommendation
A senior SGPC official anonymously told HT that the woman, Kiran Bala who is now Amna Bibi, managed to get the visa upon recommendation from “a junior SGPC official who is close to a former minister”.punjab Updated: Apr 21, 2018 09:28 IST
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Friday announced that a three-member panel will investigate the visa recommendation of a Sikh woman from Garhshankar (Hoshiarpur) who converted to Islam and married a man in Lahore while on an SGPC-coordinated pilgrimage in Pakistan.
“The panel has been asked to give its report within five days. It will check who recommended her name and how she approached that official or member,” said SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, who was in Bathinda for an executive boy meeting of the prime Sikh organisation. He said the Sikh organisations of Pakistan have also been contacted.
A senior SGPC official, meanwhile, said to HT on the condition of anonymity that the woman, Kiran Bala who is now Amna Bibi, managed to get the visa upon recommendation from “a junior SGPC official who is close to a former minister”. “That SGPC official is posted at the Golden Temple and is out of the country these days,” said the SGPC functionary who was privy to the process. Already, SGPC members from her area have claimed they did not recommend her name.
Also, Longowal said, the SGPC will further tighten the norms to select persons to be part of any jatha (group) on pilgrimage to Pakistan. Terming the incident unfortunate, Longowal, during his visit for the SGPC executive committee meeting at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo near Bathinda, told reporters that the governments of both India and Pakistan should ensure that any Sikh pilgrim who visits Pakistan should come back with the jatha. He added that the SGPC “will help the woman’s family in whatever way they will ask”.
‘Were shocked to know of her pilgrimage plan’
Meanwhile, the woman’s mother-in-law in Garhshankar, Krishan Kaur, told HT over the phone, “The local police called us around a week before the jatha left for Pakistan (for the April 12-21 visit). The cop on the line told us that Kiran had applied for a visa to Pakistan. She was in Delhi at her parents’ home. We immediately called her over the phone to ask to clarify. But she convinced us finally.”