Indian Hindus including two women have been barred from entering the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib near here as they had no visa to enter the district, where the Sikh shrine is located.
A source in Evacuee Trust Property Board told PTI that the Hindus – Vaneet Gupta, Neelam Gupta, Narindar Kumar, Hari Om and Vijay Lakhshami – reached Gurdwara Janamasthan, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, by a car from Lahore yesterday. The Gurdwara authorities, however, handed them over to the ETPB officials after finding that they had no visa on their passports for the district, some 80 kilometres from Lahore.
When asked about the alleged visa violation, the Hindus said they “wanted to visit the Sikh holy place out of respect”, the source said.
The Hindus had come here to attend festivities in connection with the ‘Shivratri’ at historic Katasraj Mandir in Chakwal district, some 250 kilometres from here. When contacted, Deputy Secretary (Hindu Affairs) Azhar Sulahry said the Hindus in question had visa for Lahore and Chakwal only.
“The Hindu pilgrims were sent back to Gurdawar Dera Sahib Lahore from Nankana and today they left for India along with other members of the group,” he said. Over 150 Hindu pilgrims had arrived here on February 25 to attend the Shivratri festival at the Katasraj Mandir.
While accepting in principle invitation by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit that country, Singh had made it clear that he would undertake the trip only if there is a possibility of a “substantive” outcome. India has been unhappy over the slow pace of progress in the trial of the 26/11 Mumbai attackers in Pakistan and feels that Islamabad is deliberately dragging its feet in ensuring that the culprits are punished.
New Delhi is also agitated that Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafeez Sayeed is being permitted to roam around free in Pakistan and also make provocative anti-India speeches.