Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday asked the central government to take up the issue of perceived security threat to Sikh jatha visiting Pakistan with the latter government instead of arbitrarily denying permission to a Sikh jatha which was scheduled to visit Sri Nankana Sahib on the hundredth anniversary of Saka Nankana Sahib.
Terming the denial of permission to the Sikh Jatha one day before it was scheduled to visit Pakistan for anniversary of Saka Nankana Sahib as extremely unfortunate, the former minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said “this action has sent a wrong signal to the Sikh Sangat and has hurt its feelings”.
Stating that the Union Home Ministry’s reasons for denial of permission to the 600 strong Jatha after its members had been issued visas was perplexing Dr Cheema said “we fail to understand what new factors have come to play within days.”
Even if the central government has any input regarding threat to the security of the devotees visiting Pakistan it should discuss the same with its Pakistan counterparts instead of taking knee jerk reactions on its own accord, he said.
Cheema also said that the excuse of denying permission on account of the threat to the health of the pilgrims due to COVID-19 also did not hold ground considering the fact that permission was granted to a Jatha to visit Pakistan in November last year when the pandemic situation was even more grim.
“Right now travel restrictions are being removed instead of being tightened”, he added.
The Shiromani Akali Dal leader said earlier the Kartarpur Corridor was closed to pilgrims. “Now darshan of Sri Nankana Sahib has also been closed. This has hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community which feels it is the responsibility of the union government to plan and ensure smooth and hassle free travel to its religious sites in Pakistan,” he said.