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Palki reaches Nankana Sahib
Its dismantling disappoints devotees
Amarjit Thind & Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Nankana Sahib, November 30
The historic moment of handing over the golden palanquin for Sikhs all over the world was tinged with controversy as only a symbolic handing over was carried out, with only the dome and two pillar plates of the palki being placed at the gurdwara.

The palanquin (Palki Sahib) brought here by the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) was handed over to the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (PSGPC) after being partially “dismantled”.

While paying obeisance, Chief Ministers of both Punjabs, Capt Amarinder Singh and Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi besides Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President, DSGMC, offered the dome and two side plates covering the pillars of the palki before the sanctum sanctorum.

For the devotees, the satisfaction of being part of such a momentous occasion was marred by the act of “dismantling” the palki. There were few takers for the ‘excuse’ that the craftsmen who had made the palki and were supposed to shift the same inside a glass enclosure constructed inside the main premises of the gurdwara, had not been granted visas.

To mark the occasion, the DSGMC distributed specially minted commemorative silver coins to all those, who came to the gurdwara.

Though Bhai Mastan Singh, President, PSGPC said that Sarbat Khalsa would be called soon to decide the final resting place of the palki, Mr Sarna said that after a day or so, the palki would be shifted to the glass enclosure. He added that now it was up to PSGPC to decide the fate of Palki Sahib as for them it was a matter of great sentimental value.

Apart from cabinet colleagues of Capt Amarinder Singh and a section of Congress MLAs, former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana, liquor baron Ponty Chadha and SAD (Longowal) leader Baldev Singh Mann attended the function.

A section of ruling politicians of Pakistan’s Punjab, its army and civil officials were also present. Most of them were given siropas (robe of honour) by Mr Sarna. Prof Darshan Singh Ragi, Former Akal Takht jathedar performed kirtan on the occasion.

While welcoming the dignitaries, Mr Sarna urged Mr Elahi that Sikhs from across the world should be allowed to purchase land to build houses in the vicinity of the birthplace of the first master of Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev.

Mr Elahi, in a lighter vein, said a majority of houses being occupied by Sikhs in Delhi belonged to his countrymen. He added that he would take up this matter with the Federal Government soon.

Mr Elahi while extending his thanks to Capt Singh for extending help to the earthquake victim, hoped that the peace process would continue and bring greater prosperity to both sides of the border. He promised that Nankana Sahib would be developed into a modern city. He said that four-laning of the Nankana Sahib-Lahore Road was near completion and more new projects would be initiated.

Capt Amarinder Singh while addressing the congregation said with the promotion of people to people contact, the wishes of Sikhs to pay obeisance at their holy shrines left in Pakistan had been met. He added he would make efforts to ease visa process for the free movement of people between the two Punjabs.

He would also make efforts to ensure a level playing field for trade between both Punjabs. He added that Punjab Government would extend all courtesies to all those Pakistanis, who went for pilgrimage to India.

Meanwhile, Bhai Mastan Singh said he would hold a meeting with Mr Avtar Singh, President, Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar, in December to discuss various issues connected with the Sikh Panth. He declined to disclose the issues.


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