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Sikh jatha of 2,500 leaves for Pak to celebrate birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev

The pilgrims were hassled as the trains were late with the Samjhauta Express also arriving at about the same time.

punjab Updated: Nov 02, 2017 21:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Sikh jatha,Guru Nanak Dev,Samjhauta
Members of the Sikh Jatha leaving for Pakistan from Attari railway station near Amritsar on November 2.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

A Sikh pilgrim group (jatha) of 2,500 left for Pakistan to celebrate the 548th birth anniversary on November 4 of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikh religion, at his birth place Nankana Sahib there, on Thursday. Pilgrims will visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib (Hassan Abdal), Gurdwara Dehra Sahib (Lahore), Gurdwara Rori Sahib (Eminabad) and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib (Narowal), before returning on November 11.

Three special trains come to Attari railway station from across the border to ferry the chosen ones. However, the pilgrims were hassled as the trains were late, with the Samjhauta Express also arriving at about the same time.

Twice previously, Centre did not give clearance

On two previous occasions – the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev and the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in June – the MEA did not give its clearance for the pilgrimage amid tension on the border.

This time, 3,000 pilgrims applied for special pilgrim visas through different organizations such as Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Society (Ferozpur) and Khalra Mission Committee etc.

“Through the SGPC, 880 people had applied for visas, but the plea of 34 was rejected due to multiple reasons,” said Roop Singh, secretary of the SGPC.

On previous two occasions, the MEA citing security concerns told Sikh jathas (groups of pilgrims) that they could visit Pakistan at their own risk on ordinary visa. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that sends the biggest Sikh jatha to Pakistan on special occasions, chose not to send any pilgrim in June.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 21:58 IST