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Sikh devotees return from Pakistan, complain about poor state of shrines

Amritsar, Fri, 19 Apr 2013 ANI

Amritsar, Apr. 19 (ANI): Sikh devotees who had recently visited Pakistan to offer prayers and pay homage at gurdwaras across the border, have returned home and complained about the poor upkeep of the shrines by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).

They claimed that several Sikh shrines, including the historic Gurdwara Panja Sahib needed urgent repair and upkeep.

The Sikh Jatha of about 2000 Sikh devotees returned to India after celebrating the Basakhi festival at Nankana Sahib.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the premier Sikh body, has criticised the Pakistan High Commission for rejecting about 1,600 applications of the Sikh devotees sent through SGPC.

Sohan Singh, a devotee, said the Sarovar at Panja Sahib is in bad condition.

He also said that people were forced to do the 'parikrama' with their shoes on.

"We have complained to the Governor of Punjab province in Pakistan and invited him to visit gurdwaras in India where Maryada is observed," he said.

Kamaljit Singh said of the 172 historical gurdwaras listed in Pakistan, the government there allows Sikh pilgrims to visit only six of them, including Dera Sahib Lahore, Nanakana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal, Sacha Sauda, Kartarpur Sahib, Narowal and Rori Sahib Elanabad.

Manpreet Singh, another devotee, claimed that the land mafia in Pakistan has occupied land of many gurdwaras illegally, which needed to be looked into by the Pakistani authorities.

It is pertinent to mention that as per the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, India and Pakistan have permitted Sikh devotees to visit their religious places situated in Pakistan on certain religious occasions.

Sikh devotees during their weeklong stay in Pakistan are allowed to pay obeisance at certain Sikh shrines.

Tarn Taran devotee Karamjit Singh said that at many places even the 'parkash' (installation) of Guru Granth Sahib has not taken place, which is against Sikh traditions because every gurdwara must have the Granth Sahib installed. By Ravinder Singh Robin(ANI)

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