India stops Sikh devotees to travel Pakistan on technical grounds

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LAHORE: After even issuance of visa by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, several Sikh pilgrims couldn’t make entry to Pakistan after Indian authorities stopped them at Attari Railway Station on “technical grounds”.

The pilgrims wanted to participate in the 10-day Jorr Mela held to mark martyrdom of Arjun Dev Jee, starting from Friday  in Hasan Abdal.

The Samjhota Express, which proceeded for India from Lahore Railway Station with routine passengers and was supposed to bring some 80 Yatris (Sikh pilgrims) from Attari, returned empty, according to official sources.

Meanwhile, 14 pilgrims entered Pakistan via Wahga Border, where they were warmly received by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) officials. Later, they were sent to Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hasan Abdal, by a special bus under tight security.

“The Pakistan High Commission issued visas to as many as 80 Yatris on June 7 after receiving clearance from its ministry of interior. Some of them had visa to enter Pakistan on-foot via Wahga border and the remaining got visa to travel by a special train that is sent by Pakistan to transport such travelers under a protocol.

“Actually, the Pakistani rail authorities first sought permission from their Indian counterparts to dispatch a special train for bringing Yatris from Attari. But they refused to receive the train, stating that their ministry has yet some concerned.

 Those having a visa to enter Pakistan on foot reached Lahore and proceeded for Hasan Abdal.

He added that when India refused to send Yatris by Samjhota Express, Pakistan rail authorities again sought permission to send the special train to Attari.

“But Indians didn’t allow, depriving several Yatris of an opportunity to participate in an important religious event.”

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