SGPC unlikely to send pilgrims to Pakistan on BaisakhiApril 5th, 2009 - 12:29 am ICT by IANS
Chandigarh, April 4 (IANS) The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) is unlikely to send a group of pilgrims to Pakistan on the occasion of Baisakhi, the harvest festival of Punjab, later this month in view of security concerns in that country.
Sources in the SGPC, the mini-parliament of Sikhs that manages Sikh shrines in Punjab, said the Baisakhi jatha (group) for Pakistan, which was to leave next week, is unlikely to go following recent terrorist strikes in that country.
The SGPC is particularly concerned about terrorist strikes in and around Lahore, just 50 km from the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in Indian Punjab.
SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar, who had recently taken up the issue of security of the jathas with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the latter’s visit to the Harmandar Sahib (popularly called Golden Temple), has indicated that foolproof security could not be provided to groups going to Pakistan.
Every year, the SGPC sends jathas to Sikh religious shrines in Pakistan. Hundreds of people go in each jatha during Baisakhi (April 13), Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom day in June and Guru Nanak Dev’s birthday (November).
The birth place of Sikhism founder and first Sikh guru, Nanak Dev, is at Nankana Sahib in Pakistan near Lahore.
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