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Controversial Pak Refuses Visas To Sikh Devotees

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Pak refuses visas to Sikh devotees
May 28, 2011, 05.14am IST TNN[ Yudhvir Rana ]

AMRITSAR: Pakistan government has rejected visa applications of all the 340 Sikh devotees, who were aspiring to observe the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev at Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar told TOI late Friday evening that refusal of visas to Sikhs was very unfortunate and had deeply hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs. SGPC had applied for visas to 340 Sikh devotees, but on Friday, the Pak high commission refused to give visas on frivolous grounds, he said.

According to amended Nanakshahi Calendar, the martyrdom anniversary of Sikh Guru falls on June 5. SGPC had chalked out the Sikh devotees` pilgrimage from May 28 to June 6.

SGPC`s additional secretary Ram Singh said that Pak high commission had told that visas could be given from June 8 to 17. According to pre-amended version of Nanakshahi Calendar, martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev falls on June 16.

He said the Pak government had taken the decision in consultation with Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Sham Singh, who was playing into the hands of Sikh bodies inimical to SGPC. "It is a direct confrontation with Akal Takht. Sham Singh has disobeyed the directives of Akal Takht," Ram Singh said. SGPC would take up the issue with Pakistan government on priority, he added.

Sikhs are largely divided over Nanakshahi Calendar. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and radical Sikh organizations had already rejected the amended version of Nanakshahi Calendar while other prominent Sikh bodies, including Damdami Taksal, had accepted the amended version of Sikh`s own calendar. Meanwhile, many Sikh organizations here asked the Akal Takht jathedar to summon Sham Singh at Akal Takht and pronounce him guilty of religious misconduct.

http://m.timesofindia.com/PDATOI/articleshow/8615268.cms
 

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