A 1,277-strong nagar kirtan (religious procession) from Delhi to Nankana Sahib, in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, entered Pakistan through the Attari border on Thursday.
However, a controversy erupted after Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi (SADD) president Paramjit Singh Sarna, who was leading the religious procession, was not allowed by the immigration authorities to enter the neighbouring country citing a cheating case registered against him in Delhi.
Earlier in the day, the procession performed an ardas (prayer) at the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs in the Golden Temple. At the Attari border, unprecedented arrangements had been made by the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers to welcome the procession. A major attraction of the procession was a golden palanquin in which Guru Granth Sahib was placed. A bed of flowers was created on the last stretch of the road in India touching the zero line. Sources said, Amritsar Improvement Trust had arranged for 52 quintal of flowers for the purpose.
Meanwhile, Paramjit Singh Sarna, who had earlier claimed that only his party had the permission to take the nagar kirtan to Nankana Sahib, was not allowed to cross over to Pakistan. His brother Harvinder Singh Sarna, was, however, allowed to enter the neighbouring country.
“I have been stopped citing a seven-year-old FIR in which police has not even filed a chargesheet against me. I traveled abroad several times in the last five years. In fact, I went to Pakistan two weeks back to make arrangements for this religious procession. But today, suddenly the old FIR has come into play to stop me,” Sarna said.
He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Badal family of Shiromani Akal Dal of hatching a conspiracy against him. “They were shocked at the response that this procession got from the Sikh sangat. I have been stopped due to political reasons. This is violation of right of a Sikh who wants to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.”
About the FIR he claimed that Delhi police officials had told him that they were going to file a closure report “as they couldn’t find anything against me”.
Sarna claimed that several obstacles were created “by BJP and SAD” to stop the procession. “We had sought permission to take the specially modified bus on which gold-plated palanquin carrying Guru Granth Sahib was kept to Pakistan, but it was denied. Even the permission to carry the palanquin (weighing around 2 quintals, and which is to be placed at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Karartpur) was given at the last moment. The Badal family failed to stop the procession, so they stopped me”.
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