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Pilgrims back from Pak attacked Covid testing team: Amritsar civil surgeon

A total of 818 pilgrims had gone to Pakistan as part of a Sikh Jatha to celebrate Baiskahi. The alleged attack on health officials has led to all pilgrims who tested positive going to their homes on their own.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar |
April 23, 2021 10:52:37 am
The district administration said that it would be the responsibility of the pilgrims who had tested positive to go to their homes and isolate themselves.

Amritsar Civil Surgeon Charanjit Singh on Thursday said that some Sikh pilgrims who returned from Pakistan after celebrating Baiskahi attacked the health department team which was present at the Attari-Wagah border to collect their samples for Covid testing.

According to SDM Anniyat Gupta, 99 Sikh pilgrims tested positive for Covid-19 as they entered India via the Wagah border on Thursday. However, the civil surgeon said that around 200 tested positive before the alleged attack took place.

A total of 818 pilgrims had gone to Pakistan as part of a Sikh Jatha to celebrate Baiskahi. The jatha visited various gurdwaras across Pakistan before coming back to India.

All the pilgrims were supposed to be tested for Covid-19 on the entry back to India.

The alleged attack on health officials has led to all pilgrims who tested positive going to their homes on their own.

A woman doctor said: “The incident took place when the shift was changing and a new team was putting on PPE kits to collect samples. Some pilgrims started saying that we were doing drama. They accused us of producing fake Covid results. As I tried to intervene and asked the devotees to calm down, I was manhandled and my PPE kit was torn. Abusive language was used against us.”

A woman data operator said, “Some devotees alleged that we were playing games. There was no security for us. We will not work until security is provided.”

“I have received complaints from the doctors and health staff. They were attacked and some record papers about Covid patients were also torn. Around 600 tests were conducted before the attack and 200 were positive. We have submitted a complaint with DC and police,” said Civil Surgeon Charanjit Singh.

The district administration said that it would be the responsibility of the pilgrims who had tested positive to go to their homes and isolate themselves.

Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee president Bibi Jagir Kaur said all the pilgrims were asymptomatic.

Pilgrims who tested positive should follow instructions of health department, she added.

“We suppose citizens are responsible and they would isolate themselves on their own,” said SDM Anniyat Gupta.

On if the district administration would arrange transportation for positive pilgrims, she said, “They can come to us of need any assistance.”

On possibility of asymptomatic pilgrims taking bus, train or taxi to reach home, she said, “It is responsibility of the citizens to follow Covid-19 guidelines.”

An official of Amritsar district administration said that all asymptomatic pilgrims will be home isolated. Pilgrims who tested negative, will also be quarantined at their homes.

Earlier, some Sikh devotees had visas couldn’t go to Pakistan as they had tested positive for Covid-19.

The Sikh Jatha of 818 pilgrims left for Pakistan on April 12 to celebrate the Khalsa Sajna Diwas and Baisakhi at Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib, Hasan Abdal.

This was the first time after the Covid outbreak that Sikh Jatha visited various gurudwaras in Pakistan and was not restricted to one city.

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