The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging them to allow Sikh pilgrims to visit the Nankana Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan.
The Union Home Ministry had on Thursday denied permission to 600 Sikh pilgrims intending to visit Pakistan citing the security situation and the COVID-19 pandemic in that country. A group of pilgrims were set to travel to Pakistan from February 18 to February 25 to mark the centenary of the martyrdom of Sikhs and Saka Nankana Sahib.
In letters to PM Modi and HM Shah, SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur said the government’s decision has hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community and that it should be reconsidered. Kaur said, “The pilgrims who have got visas should be allowed to attend the programs to be held on February 21 at Sri Nankana Sahib.”
Addressing the media later, the Gurdwara Body Chief said the government of India should understand the sentiments of Sikhs and allow the community to be a part of the events on February 21.
She said, “A set of books is being sent to the PM and the Home Minister on the history of Sikhs who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country. Along with these books, letters are also being sent to both the leaders informing them about the history of the incident.” Several Sikhs were massacred on February 20, 1921, at the Gurdwara Janam Asthan at Nankana Sahib.
MHA denied pilgrims permission for the Saka Nankana Sahib centenary
Last week, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Bibi Jagir Kaur had said that the COVID-19 test will be mandatory for pilgrims going to Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The SGPC had conducted a two-day special Covid testing camp that concluded on its premises on Wednesday. According to media reports, the Pakistan government had given permission to visit the shrines in the country.
In a reply to SGPC on Thursday, the MHA said, “You may be aware that traffic on India Pakistan International border has been suspended from March 2020 due to COVID pandemic. While the pandemic continues to persist, it is pertinent to note that Pakistan has so far recorded over half a million cases with over 10,000 plus deaths due to COVID. Considering the capacity of health infrastructure in Pakistan, it is not advisable for a large group of our citizens to visit Pakistan for a week during the pandemic.”
Source: Republic World