Tribune News Service
Amritsar, February 21
The BJP-led Central government was criticised on both the sides of India-Pakistan border for its denial to permit Indian ‘jatha’ to visit Pakistan to take part in the centenary of Nankana Sahib massacre, known as Saka Nankana Sahib, on Sunday.
Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh addressed the Pakistan devotees’ digitally through ‘zoom’ and appreciated the Pakistan authorities for organising the event to pay homage to the hundreds of Sikhs who laid down their lives for the sake of Sikh Panth and the shrine’s administration.
In Pakistan, around 2,000 Sikhs and Nanak Naam leva sangat attended the occasion. Federal Minister Brig (Retd) Ejaz Shah was the chief guest.
Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Satwant Singh told that all the arrangements were made in collaboration with the Evacuee Trust Property Board.
“Pakistan had issued 720 visas to Indian devotees as special permission to attend the occasion but in vain,” he said.
The SGPC marked the occasion at Godharpur village in Gurdaspur district, where the kin of Bhai Lachhman Dass Singh Dharowali, who was killed during Nankana Sahib massacre, lived.
Launching an attack on the Central government, Giani Harpreet Singh said the BJP-led Central government has been playing politics of “polarisation”.
“Since 1947, the minorities like Muslims and Sikhs were being targeted politically, socially, economically and religiously only to grab powers through votes from the majority community. The Sikhs ought to be politically strong while burying internal conflicts,” he said.
On Centre’s move to restrict Indian Jatha to Nankana Sahib, he said it was a fallout of Sikhs’ active participation in protest against the newly enacted farm laws.
He said that even if the Centre attempted to intercept the Sikh jathas on Gurpurabs ahead, the Sikhs would never bow down before the Centre.
“I want to clarify to the Central government that its attempt to desist the Sikhs’ participation in farm protest could never be fructified. A century ago, the British government had stopped the Sikh jatha heading to Nankana Sahib, a day after the massacre, led by Jathedar Kartar Singh Jhabbar and today the BJP’s Central government did the same,” he said.
He said the Sikhs would commemorate Saka Nankana Sahib martyrs every year and the occasion would also memorise the Centre’s move to stop Sikh jatha to Nankana Sahib.
Addressing a gathering, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal also questioned the Centre for its denial to jatha and the CM for not taking up the issue.
“Even few days back few persons were granted permission to visit Pakistan at the insistence of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh,” he said.
SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur urged Sikhs to unite under the banner of the SGPC and also announced to construct a Guru Ka Langar hall in remembrance of Bhai Lachhman Singh and a library in memory of the martyrs of Nankana Sahib in their native villages.
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