A group of Sikh pilgrims staged a protest and allegedly raised anti-India slogans at the Attari International Railway Station today after they were denied permission to visit Pakistan on the occasion of death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the 19th century Sikh empire. Around 100 pilgrims arrived here to board a special train for Pakistan to commemorate the 178th death anniversary Mahraja Ranjit Singh, who died in Lahore on June 27, 1839. But they were informed by the Indian authority that the trip had been cancelled due to certain reasons. The pilgrims led by Harpal Singh Bhullar, the president of Ferozpur-based NGO Bhai Mardana Yadgar Kirtan Darbar Society, alleged that the train was cancelled as the Indian authorities deliberately created hurdle.
They staged a protest at the station and raised slogans against the central and state governments. The group of pilgrims was being led by the NGO after the Shriomani Gurdwara Pharbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex Sikh religious body, withdrew its delegation. The Centre has denied permission to its 251-member delegation to visit Pakistan, citing security reasons, the SGPC said today. “The Centre has declined permission to the delegation to visit Pakistan due to security reasons,” SGPC secretary Harcharan Singh told PTI.
The Centre had informed the SGPC that if anyone wanted to visit Pakistan, then it should give an undertaking that the person was going there at one’s own risk to which the Sikh religious body did not agree, he said. On being asked whether the neighbouring country was contemplating sending a train for the delegation up to the Attari-Wagah border, he said, “Permission was not given by the Centre. Therefore, there was no question of anybody going to Pakistan.”