Why can't Sikh pilgrims visit Nankana Sahib? Badal asks Centre
Shiromani Akali Dal Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal is not happy with the Centre's decision to refuse permission to a group of pilgrims to visit Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. He has demanded an explanation from the Centre calling it "akin to an attack on the community." He also asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh why he did not raise the issue with the Central Government.
It is the centenary of the Nankana Sahib massacre
A group of pilgrims led by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh was to travel to Pakistan from February 18 to February 25 to mark the centenary of the Nankana Sahib massacre. However, the Union Home Ministry denied permission to the 600 Sikhs, who intended to visit gurdwaras in Pakistan, citing security and the COVID-19 situation in that country.
Why was permission denied a day prior to the visit?
Badal, on Sunday, attended a centenary function organized by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at Gurdwara Lachhman Singh Dharowali at Godharpura in Gurdaspur district and paid tributes to the martyrs of the Nankana Sahib massacre. He took to Twitter to question the Centre's decision of denying permission to the pilgrims one day prior to the visit and asked for an explanation.
Here is Badal's tweet questioning the decision
Govt should explain why one day prior to the visit, it denied permission to the Jatha, which was to be led by Sri Akal Takth Sahib Jathedar. Punjab CM @capt_amarinder must also explain why he had not taken up the issue of need to accord permission to the Jatha with the Centre. pic.twitter.com/UEuwoW8ZMs— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) February 21, 2021
It is the birth place of Guru Nanak Dev Ji
The SGPC observed the first centenary of the massacre that took place 100 years ago to liberate Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev Ji's birthplace, from "mahants." Several Sikhs were massacred on February 20, 1921, at Gurdwara Janam Asthan by mahant and his mercenaries.
Centre wants Sikhs to withdraw from farmers' agitation: Harpreet Singh
Addressing the gathering, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh flayed the Centre's move of denying permission to a group of pilgrims going to Pakistan. He further said the central government refused permission for going to Nankana Sahib as it wanted Sikhs to withdraw from the ongoing farmers' agitation against the new farm laws.
Sikhs will continue contributing to kisan andolan: Singh
He added that the Sikhs will never return from the farmer's agitation and will continue contributing to the Kisan Andolan even if the Centre stops Jathas every year. The bhog of Akhand Path Sahib (continuous recitation of religious hymns) was held at Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Lachhman Singh Dharowali before the commencement of the grand religious event organized to remember the martyrs.
Letters have been written to PM Modi and Amit Shah
The decision has also drawn sharp reactions from the Sikh community. The SGPC president has even written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and said that the government's decision has hurt the sentiments of the Sikh 'sangat' (community).