Shaheedi Gurpurb: 84 Sikh pilgrims leave for Pak as SGPC decides to opt out
The SGPC, which now follows the modified version of the calendar as per which the martyrdom day falls on June 17, opted out to send jatha as it was denied visa as per the schedule fixed accordingly.punjab Updated: Jun 08, 2018 23:09 IST
A jatha of 84 pilgrims left for Pakistan by a special train from the Attari railway station on Friday for observing ‘Shaheedi Gurpurb’ (martyrdom day) of fifth Sikh guru Arjan Dev even as the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) decided not to send its jatha to the neighbouring country.
The martyrdom day is being observed on June 16 as per the original Nanakshahi calendar at Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore, for which a Sikh jatha goes from India every year. However, due to row over calendar dates, the pilgrimage has been taking a hit for some years.
The SGPC, which now follows the modified version of the calendar as per which the martyrdom day falls on June 17, opted out to send jatha as it was denied visa as per the schedule fixed accordingly.
Parmjit Singh Sarna-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) and Vishav Bhai Mardana Society, Ferozepur, sent their jathas.
Unlike last year when the special train did not come and the pilgrims were left stranded at the station, Pakistan sent special train to ferry the pilgrims this time.
The train left for Pak at 1.45pm on Friday.
Jung Singh, who is heading the Ferozepur society’s jatha, said they will go to Gurdwara Panja Sahib via Lahore on Friday.
“From there, we will visit Nanakana Sahib, birthplace of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, and Gurdwara Sacha Sauda. At last, we will stay at Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore, to observe the martyrdom day. On June 17, we will return by train,” he said.
The SGPC had sought visas from June 9 to June 18, but Pakistan denied. The SGPC did not compromise on difference of one day. It has been doing so since few years as there was difference of more days earlier in the dates of original and modified versions of the Nanakshahi calendar.
From 2003 to 2010, the SGPC has followed the original version, but in 2010 it agreed to modify it under pressure of Damadami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhumma-led Sant Samaj which was in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) during its (SGPC’s) general elections.