The Tribune – Sikh jatha denied travel via Samjhauta Express

G S Paul, Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 8 June 2017. A group of 80 pilgrims heading for Pakistan to observe the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev had to return disappointed as they were not allowed to board the Samjhauta Express at the Attari railway station today.

According to information, 68 pilgrims had obtained their visas through Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society while the remaining 12 were sponsored by the SAD (Delhi). They alleged that despite possessing ‘valid’ documents, they were not allowed to proceed due to lack of communication between the railway authorities and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Society president Harpal Singh Bhullar said, “We were told that the visa documents were valid for a ‘special train’, not for the Samjhauta Express. Hence, it stood invalid. For a sheer official snag, pilgrims had to suffer disappointment.”

It is learnt that another group of 14 pilgrims, sponsored by Haryana-based Sukhmani Sahib Society, crossed over to Pakistan taking the Attari-Wagah road route.

Attari Railway Station Superintendent A K Gupta said they did not allow the pilgrims board the Samjhauta Express as they were not satisfied with the documents they possessed. “There were clear-cut directions that unless we get the green signal from the MEA about any jatha, we cannot allow them to cross over to Pakistan.

The pilgrims’ visa documents mentioned travel by special pilgrimage train, and not Samjhauta Express,” he said.


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