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Palki crosses over to Pak
Sea of devotees witness historic moment
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, November 29
History of sorts was scripted when the bedecked special vehicle, carrying Guru Granth Sahib in the golden palanquin, was given the guard of honour by the BSF and Pakistani Rangers on both sides of the Wagah joint checkpost, respectively, amid “Bole So Nihal” slogans, first time after Partition, here today.

The Radcliff Line seemed “disappeared” for some time to mark the historic event as hundreds of devotees accompanying the “palki” crossed the zero line. The flower petals were showered by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, and his Pakistani counterpart, Chaudhary Pervez Elahi, over the procession even as some BSF jawans were seen picking petals out of sheer devotion from the road linking India and Pakistan.

The 5 km-long procession, led by “Panj Pyaras” (five beloved ones), reached the zero line after covering a distance of about 500 km from New Delhi. The unprecedented sea of devotees and vehicles, that accompanied the procession, lead to frequent traffic jams. Even the Delhi-Lahore bus got the feel of this traffic chaos.

The “palki” was running more than 12 hours behind the schedule with Sikh devotees compelling the organisers to have ‘khule darshan’ of the palanquin, which would be installed at the sanctum sanctorum of Janmasthan Guru Nanak Dev at Nankana Sahib after covering the longest-ever distance of about 700 km.

Even as Amritsar recorded the lowest temperature in the region, the devotees waited for the procession on the outskirts of the city by arranging bonfires in the wee hours. Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, President Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, said he could not sleep for the past two nights as it was like a dream come true for him to have “darshan” of lakhs of devotees on the way. The devotees were sweeping roads and sprinkling water all the way. The elephant-mounted Nihangs in their traditional attire added colour to the procession.

The vehicle carrying relics of Guru Gobind Singh, preserved by the family of Maharaja Amarinder Singh, also accompanied the procession till Wagah joint checkpost.

Interestingly, a number of Tricolours and Pakistani flags fluttered side by side across Wagah. A big poster of a hug between Capt Amarinder Singh and Chaudhary Pervez Elahi was displayed on Pakistan side of Wagah.

While no SAD leader had participated in the procession, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a member of the Political Affairs Committee and member, SGPC, of the Badal faction, sat in the special vehicle up to the zero line.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarna sought resignation of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti as Jathedar of Akal Takht for describing the longest-ever procession as “political stunt”. He said the jathedar should have understood the feelings of the sangat which had participated in the procession in a big way before giving such a statement.

On the other hand, Mr Sarna got shot in the arm when Giani Rattan Singh, Deputy Jathedar of Takht Hazoor Sahib, who also crossed over to Pakistan, justified the procession. Mr Harminder Singh Gill, General Secretary, DCCI, criticised the SAD for showing denigration to Guru Granth Sahib by staying away from the procession.

Earlier, Capt Amarinder Singh, while addressing mediapersons, said he was going to Pakistan as a humble Sikh. He, however, said it was unfortunate that the SAD and the SGPC had boycotted the procession today.



PSGPC chief to call Sarbat Khalsa
Final place for golden palki 
Tribune News service

Lahore, November 29
Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (PSGPC) President Mastan Singh categorically stated that Sarbat Khalsa would be called for deciding the final place for the golden palanquin (Palki Sahib) brought to Nankana Sahib Gurdwara by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management committee (DSGMC).

Mr Mastan Singh, who along with Mr Sham Singh, the former President of the PSGPC was on the Pakistani side of the Wagah joint check post to accord welcome to the nagar kirtan carrying the palanquin, said that Sarbat Khalsa would decide whether the palki brought from Bangla Sahib gurdwara by the DSGMC would be installed in place of the existing marble canopy or not.

“Earlier the PSGPC has decided to replace the marble canopy at Nankana Sahib with the golden palanquin. But after the unfortunate controversy raised by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) , the PSGPC has decided to call a Sarbat Khalsa to decide its final place,” he pointed out adding that all Sikhs and their religious organisations would be invited for that conclave.

The committee chief said since a lot of money and efforts had gone into the making and transporting the palanquin to Nankana Sahib, there was a general feeling among the Sikhs of Pakistan that such a magnificent artifact should not be allowed to gather dust in some store room. Since the palanquin was meant to be exhibited, in the first place it should be placed on the premises of Nankana Sahib only.

While showering praise on Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, and Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President, DSGMC, for undertaking the historical venture and for bringing people, particularly Sikhs, of India and Pakistan more closer, he said that he was hopeful that the SGPC would play a positive role.

When asked about the SGPC claim that the historical gurdwaras in Pakistan were in a bad shape, he said that first the SGPC should look after the gurdwaras which it had been managing and only then it should talk about the plight of Pakistan’s gurdwaras.


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