Sputnik – Pakistan moves to embrace its minorities by opening the doors of Hindu Mandirs

New Delhi – India, 18 November 2019. India and Pakistan have opened the Kartarpur Corridor, allowing Indian pilgrims to worship throughout the year at a Sikh shrine in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Pakistan has historically been uneasy with its Hindu heritage but things seem to be changing under the ruling Imran Khan government.

Pakistan’s ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s spokesperson Ahman Jawad has announced plans to restore Hindu places of worship.

The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 resulted in the closure Hindu and Sikh shrines in the country.

A survey by the All-Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement earlier this year revealed that at the time of partition, 428 Hindu mandirs existed in Pakistan but only 20 remain operational.

In April this year, the Pakistan government announced plans to re-open 400 of the 428 mandirs. It also cleared a plan to allow Indian tourists to visit Sharda Peeth, an ancient Hindu religious and cultural site in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Taking another positive step towards the minority Hindus, Jagannath Mandir in Pakistan’s Sialkot city was reopened in July after 72 years.

The changes are not just at the bureaucratic level, but also at the judicial level, with the Supreme Court of Pakistan making judgements in favour of Hindus.

Similarly, in September 2019, Muslims escorted Hindus to a mandir in Ghotki district after riots broke out in the area over an alleged blasphemy committed by a Hindu teacher.

Pakistan also plans to begin the renovation of two to three historic and heritage mandirs every year. The restoration process will begin with two historic mandirs, the 1,000-year old Shivalaya Teja Singh Temple in Sialkot and Gorakhnath Temple in Peshawar.

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201911181077341024-pakistan-moves-to-embrace-its-minorities-by-opening-the-doors-of-hindu-temples-/

PM Imran Khan’s message for Narendra Modi: Justice leads to peace – Injustice breeds anarchy

Faizan Bangash & Sher Ali Khalti

Kartarpur – Panjab – Pakistan, 10 November 2019. With the opening of Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan, the Sikh community in India has been provided easy and direct access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Devji.

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, situated in Kartarpur (Shakargarh, Narowal), is the second holiest place for the Sikh community.

While inaugurating the Kartarpur Corridor here on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan termed it a gift for the Sikh community all-over the world, especially those living in India, from the people and Government of Pakistan. He welcomed thousands of Sikh pilgrims from India in Pakistan and urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue.

Urging his Indian counterpart to give justice to Kashmiris, PM Imran said prosperity in South Asia region was only possible if Kashmir issue was resolved. “It’s just a beginning; let’s hope the relationship between India and Pakistan becomes like it should have been,” added the PM. The premier said Narendra Modi must know that justice brings peace and hatred causes chaos in a society.

He said a leader was the one who brings people together and doesn’t divide them to get their votes through spread of hatred. “When I was elected as the prime minister, I told (Narendra) Modi our biggest problem is poverty.

I told him that if we open our borders, mutual trade will eliminate poverty,” Imran Khan said while addressing the people of both countries at Kartarpur Corridor. He called upon Indian premier to give justice to the people of occupied Kashmir.

Imran said, “Eight million people in occupied Kashmir are being treated like animals. They have been brought under forcible rule of 900,000 Indians troops.” He warned Modi to end injustice as such decisions bring chaos.

He urged the Indian premier to give justice to the people of occupied Kashmir and liberate the Subcontinent. He said the problem of occupied Kashmir had gone beyond a dispute over territory and became a human rights issue.

Once justice was done to Kashmiris and their right to self-determination was given to them, situation of the entire region would improve. “Look at Germany and France, both countries fought wars and killed thousands. Today, their borders are open and trade has brought progress to the region.”

Imran Khan said that justice was only reflected in society of human beings and urged the Indian PM to rid the region of the dispute of Kashmir. The PM also recalled the role of great African statesman Nelson Mandela for playing the role of a leader for his country and uniting the people.

Appreciating the teachings of Baba Guru Nanak Devji in his speech, he said: “There is humanity in the philosophy of Guru Nanak. Humanity is what separates human beings from animals. Our God also talks about humanity and our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent as a blessing for all mankind.”

The PM congratulated the government officials and ministers over swift and on-time completion of the Kartarpur Corridor project. He said, “I learnt a year ago about the value of Kartarpur Sahib. This is the Madina for the Sikhs of the world.”

He said that the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and other departments and ministries concerned worked diligently and completed the project in just 10 months. He said he did not know fully how efficient and capable his government was.

Addressing the ceremony, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said it was a historic moment for Sikhs. “Imran Khan has created history with Kartarpur Corridor; Kartarpur has been opened for Sikhs from all over the world,” he added.

The foreign minister congratulated the Sikh all over the world on opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and welcomed the Sikh pilgrims present at their holy site. He said, “The doors of Kartarpur Sahib are open for the Sikh community.”

The foreign minister said “we need to see today who was sowing the seeds of hatred in the region”. He congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan on the opening of the historic corridor.

Qureshi said, “09 November was also the day when the Berlin Wall fell, which changed the map of Europe”.

The foreign minister said, “If the Kartarpur Corridor can open, then the LoC’s temporary closure can also be ended.”

He said that the way the doors of Kartarpur have been opened, the doors of Srinagar’s Jama mosque should also be opened so that Muslims could pray the Friday prayers there.

Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also forced to thank Prime Minister Imran Khan over opening of the Kartarpur Corridor. Speaking at an event, Modi said Prime Minister Imran had understood the emotions of the Indian people. “I would like to thank the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, for understanding the sentiments of the people of India,” he said.

He said that it had become easier for Sikh pilgrims to go to Guru Nanak’s Gurdwara because of the corridor. “I would like to thank the authorities in Pakistan who helped create this corridor in a short span of time,” he said.

“Imran Khan has made history,” said Navjot Singh Sidhu at the inaugural ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor. He termed it an ointment on the wounds of people who witnessed bloodshed during the Partition.

He called Imran Khan the ‘king of hearts’. He said Alexander the Great had won hearts of people because of fear, while Imran Khan won hearts of people by promoting peace.

He thanked Imran Khan for taking a bold step. He said for the first time in the history, boundaries between the two countries have been dismantled. “No one can deny the contribution of Imran Khan,” said Sidhu and sent Munna Bhai MBBS’s hug for Modi.

He demanded opening of borders so that people could have their breakfast in India, their lunch in Lahore and then return to their homes in India after completing their trade and business tasks.

Former Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh, Bollywood actor and Indian parliamentarian Sunny Deol, Panjab CM Sardar Usman Buzdar, Panjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and other noted figures were also present on the occasion.

Sikh Yatris from different cities of India including Amristsar, Ambala, Patiala, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Chandigarh, Delhi as well as from different nations like Canada, USA, France, England, Sweden were present at the inauguration ceremony.

While expressing their views, Yatris unanimously hailed the project and expressed the hope that further relaxation would also be given to them so that they could visit Panjab as per their will.

Besides, the Sikh community members from Pakistan including former MPA Ramesh Singh Arora, sitting MPA Mahender Pal Singh and others also lauded the role of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in successful completion of the project.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri also addressed the ceremony.

He said the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor was the greatest message of peace after the Partition in 1947. He said the prime minister had fulfilled his commitment to provide access to Sikh community to visit their holy shrines.

He said while being in Baghdad, Baba Guru Nanak used to visit the shrine of Imam Musa Kazim daily which gave a message of harmony as he had devoted his life for peace and harmony.

The Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Harpreet Singh said by opening of Kartarpur Corridor, the 70-year old demand of Sikhs had been fulfilled for what they were thankful to both the governments.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/553558-imran-s-message-for-modi-justice-leads-to-peace-injustice-breeds-anarchy

Sikh24.com – 550th Prakash Purab: Activists demand re-building of historical Gurdwara demolished by Hindu mobs in 1984

By Sikh24 Editors

Haridwar – Uttrakhand – India, 13 November 2019. The Supreme Court verdict in the Babri Masjid Case might have favoured Hindus, but the bench’s citing of Guru Nanak’s visit to Ayodhya has reignited the demand of the Sikhs to rebuild a historical Gurdwara that was demolished in 1984 by Hindu mobs.

Sikhs are asking that if Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s visit to Ayodhya can be an important factor in the Supreme Court ruling, then why not use the same sources used by the Supreme Court and allow re-building of historical sites associated with Guru Nanak’s life, which were demolished by mobs in 1984.

Gurcharan Singh Babbar, who has led the campaign to seek re-building of Gurdwara Gyan Godri Sahib organized a nagar kirtan to the site, but he was arrested at the border. He was allowed to visit the site but under escort. Babbar has been vocal about getting the demolished site re-built, however, till date the local administration has not provided any cooperation.

During the fourth ‘Udaasi’, the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Haridwar and shared a message of humanity there. Gurdwara Gian Godri Sahib was established in the memory of Guru Nanak Sahib’s valuable teachings at Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar.

The Gurdwara was demolished in 1984 and later the site was taken over while carrying out the beautification project of the Ganga River.

Gurcharan Singh Babbar expressed frustration while speaking with Sikh24. “First they demolished the site, then they illegally occupied and now they want us to file a case. It shouldn’t be like that,” he said while talking about the historical site of Guru Nanak’s visit to Haridwar.

“We are ready to face arrests, but we want the entire world to know that the Uttrakhand police arrested a nagar kirtan,” he said.

In addition to Gurcharan Singh Babbar, Karnataka born professor, Panditrao Dharenavar also visited the site and raised awareness of the historical Gurdwara. Professor Dharenavar currently teaches Punjabi while living in Chandigarh. He has made the propagation of the Panjabi language his life mission.

Dharenavar recited Sri Jap ji Sahib ji at Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar and demanded the local administration to re-build the Gurdwara. He held banners while campaigning about the history of Gurdwara Gyan Godhri Sahib.

“I have also written a letter to Chief Minister of Uttarakhand to take steps to rebuild Gurdwara Gyan Godri,” he told Sikh24. “Sikh Sangat of the world is celebrating Sri Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th parakash celebration by visiting Karatapaur and Sultanpur Lodhi but I visited Haridwar and recited Sri Jap Ji Sahib.”

Panditrao, assistant Professor in post graduate government college Sector 46 Chandigarh has been reciting Sri Jap ji Sahib at Har-ki-Pauri every year on the auspicious occasion of Kartik Poornima, the prakash day of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji.

Panditrao Dharenavar is originally from Karnataka but learned Panjabi so well that he has penned down 12 books in Panjabi and translated Sri Jap ji Sahib into the Kannada language of Karnataka. He told Sikh24 that he is committed to get the historical shrine re-built and for that he will visit the site every year.

Obviously the Sikh claim on the site where Gurdwara Gyan Godri was is based on facts, and not on fables about Gods.  But why are we so keen to maintain ‘historical’ gurdwaras in areas where there is only a small Sikh population ?
If we were to have a Gurdwara at all the places where our ten Gurus ever preached we would have loads of real estate without sangat !
Man in Blue

550th Prakash Purab: Activists Demand Re-Building of Historical Shrine Demolished by Hindu Mobs in 1984

The Express Tribune – Babri Mosque, Lahore Gurdwara: Legal parallels, different outcome

Anadolu Agency

Karachi – Sindh – Pakistan, 09 November 2019. As Indian Supreme Court on Saturday handed over the site of 16th century Babri Mosque to Hindus for the construction of a temple, the Sikh community in Pakistan feels that the verdict should have taken a queue from Lahore’s Shahid Ganj Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) case.

The two cases bear striking resemblance in terms of claims and litigation.

They also termed the timing of the verdict “surprising”, as it coincided with the opening of Kartarpur border between India and Pakistan to facilitate Sikh pilgrims to visit their places of worship.

“The two sites (Babri Mosque and Shahid Ganj Gurdwara) share a close resemblance in terms of litigation, but not in terms of the outcome,” Sardar Ramesh Singh, the chairman of Pakistan Sikh Council, told Anadolu Agency.

Ramesh gave credit to the Muslim community for conserving Shahid Ganj Gurdwara and not converting it into a mosque after the creation of Pakistan.

“The land of Babri Mosque has been taken away from Muslim minority in India, whereas the Gurdwara of the minority Sikh community still stands at the same site in Muslim-majority Pakistan,” he said.

The history of the building known as Shahid Ganj Gurdwara, also called Bhai Taru Singh (a Sikh religious scholar) Gurdwara, has striking resemblance with the dispute of Babri Mosque, demolished by a frenzied Hindu mob on 06 December 1992 and now its site has been handed over to Hindus for the construction of a mandir.

Constructed by Kotwal (Chief Police Officer) of Lahore Abdullah Khan, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653, Shahid Ganj was a mosque till 1799, till the Sikh Army under Maharaja Ranjit Singh captured the city by defeating Afghans. They converted it into a gurdwara and barred entry of Muslims.

In 1849, when British took control of Lahore by defeating the Sikh Empire, Muslims pleaded for the return of the mosque and knocked the court. But the court using law of limitations, rejected the plea and questioned the delay of 51 years for claiming the mosque.

The London-based Privy Council, the highest court of appeal during British era also rejected Muslim claim on May 2, 1940.

Gurdwara protected by local Muslims

“Only a few Sikhs were left in the surroundings of Gurdwara, following the huge Sikh exodus in 1947. If the local community had insisted its conversion into mosque, nobody would have stopped them”, said Ramesh.

Sardar Charanjeet Singh, a Sikh community leader in Peshawar said India should learn from Pakistan in terms of protecting places of worship for minorities.

“Another Gurdwara was also re-opened in Peshawar five years ago, with the assistance of local Muslims”, Charanjeet, who also runs a facebook page “Peshawari Singh”, told Anadolu Agency.

He was referring to Gurdwara Baba Biba Singh, named after a 17th century Sikh religious scholar.

The Gurdawra had been closed following migration of Sikhs from Peshawar to India in 1947.

Currently, Peshawar hosts the largest population of Sikhs in Pakistan, who started settling down here from adjoining tribal areas and other parts of the country in 1960s for businesses and jobs.

The number of Sikhs in Pakistan is estimated between 30,000-40,000 out of some 200 million population of this South Asian Muslim country.

Apart from Peshawar, he said, two other Gurdwaras had recently been re-opened in Mandi Bahauddin and Gujrat districts of Punjab with the help of local Muslims.

Both Ramesh and Charanjeet termed timing of the verdict as “surprising” and “unfortunate”, when Sikhs were celebrating 550th anniversary of their founder Baba Guru Nanak and the opening of pilgrim corridor, along Kartarpur border between India and Pakistan.

“The judgment had been pending for over a long time. The Supreme Court could have waited a bit more. But it chose to announce the verdict on this occasion, which could have been taken as a point for inter-communal harmony in both countries,” he said.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2096739/1-babri-mosque-lahore-gurdwara-legal-parallels-different-outcome/

The Tribune – Amid corridor buzz, Nankana Sahib gurdwara draws sea of devotees

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 12 November 2019. A large number of Sikh pilgrims from India, Canada, the US, the UK, the UAE and different parts of Pakistan gathered at the Gurdwara Janamasthan Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak, to mark his 550 birth anniversary today.

The Sikhs carried out a ‘palki’ from the shrine and moved to eight other smaller gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib city. The pilgrims from India, Canada, the US, the UK, the UAE and different parts of Pakistan gathered at the Gurdwara and performed religious rituals.

Federal Interior Minister Ijaz Shah said Sikhs expressed joy over the arrangements regarding the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak and opening of the Kartarpur Corridor project.

The corridor was thrown open by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday, facilitating Indian pilgrims to visit one of Sikhs’ holiest shrines in the Pakistani town of Narowal. The corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan President Arif Alvi addressed the Sikhs at the Governor’s House in Lahore where Governor Sarwar had invited some 2,000 Sikh pilgrims, who had come from different parts of the world, including India, for a luncheon, Dawn News reported.

Alvi said Sikhs would be welcomed in Pakistan and doors would remain wide open for them at every occasion. He lauded Religious Tourism and Heritage Committee led by Chaudhry Sarwar for making arrangement for the corridor opening ceremony and for arrangements made for the birth anniversary celebrations.

“Pakistan is advocating love and peace as wars are not the solution to issues, which could be resolved through dialogues,” he said. Governor Sarwar said, “Pakistan is a safe country for minorities and it is working for restoration of religious places of not only the Sikh community but also other minorities including Christians and Hindus”.

Notwithstanding their strained ties, India and Pakistan signed an agreement last month, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor.

According to the pact, Pakistan will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. Guru Nanak Dev spent last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world’s largest Sikh Gurdawara.

Now, turn of guru’s birthplace, says Yogi

Lucknow – UP – India, 12 November 2019. UP CM Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said that after the Kartarpur Corridor, it was the turn of Nankana Sahib to open its door for the people of this country. “I extend my good wishes to you and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ensuring the opening of Kartarpur Corridor.

The day is not far when we will be able to visit Nankana Sahib too,” he said at a function to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Nankana Sahib is a city in Pakistan in which Guru Nanak was born. He said the teachings of Guru Nanak were spread across several countries.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/amid-corridor-buzz-nankana-sahib-gurdwara-draws-sea-of-devotees/859859.html

The Belfast Telegraph – Prince Charles praises contribution of Sikhs to life in UK

The Prince of Wales will visit a Sikh temple [Gurdwara] in New Delhi. He praised the contribution Sikhs have made to life in the UK on the eve of a two-day visit to India.

Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

London – UK, 12 November 2019. Charles will commemorate the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, when he visits a major temple [Gurdwara] in the capital New Delhi on Wednesday.

His comments are likely to be interpreted as further evidence of his reported desire to take the title defender of faith, rather than “the faith” when he becomes king, to reflect multi-cultural Britain.

In a message to Britain’s Sikh community, and others in the Commonwealth, to mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of the religion’s founder, Charles said: “The principles on which Guru Nanak founded the Sikh religion, and which guide your lives to this day, are ones which can inspire us all, hard work, fairness, respect and selfless service to others.”

Charles added in the message, posted on his official Twitter account: “In embodying these values, Sikhs have made the most profound contribution to the life of this country, and continue to do so.

“This week, as Sikhs everywhere honour the founder of your faith, my wife and I wanted you to know just how much your community is valued and admired by us all, and that our thoughts are with you at this very special time.”

In the UK the prince has visited the places of worship of many faiths and religions, from Hinduism and Judaism to Orthodox Christians and Middle East Catholics, and regularly holds interfaith dialogue events when on official overseas trips.

He recently attended the canonisation of Saint John Henry Newman, the 19th century Catholic cardinal, at the Vatican, where he met Pope Francis before the ceremony.

Charles has a busy schedule in the Indian capital on Wednesday and will sit down for bilateral talks with India’s President Ram Nath Kovind.

The British High Commission in New Delhi said Charles’ 10th official visit to the country would “celebrate enduring British-Indian ties, with a focus on shared global challenges such as sustainability and climate change”.

Charles will also take part in a discussion on how to strengthen disaster resilience and tackle the effects of climate change at the Indian Meteorological Department.

He will later attend a military service to commemorate the sacrifices of soldiers from India, the UK and across the Commonwealth in the two World Wars.

British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith, said about the prince: “His many visits to India and his enduring interest in promoting our common interests is another example of the living bridge between the United Kingdom and India.

“His Royal Highness will witness how India makes use of innovation to respond to natural disasters and how its clean technology is helping deal with the challenges of climate change.

“He will celebrate our strong cultural links and experience the warm hospitality that diverse religious communities in India have to offer.”

During the day Charles will also present a Commonwealth Points of Light award to an Indian woman for her exemplary contribution to the field of social development.

The prince will celebrate his 71st birthday on Thursday, and will be in Mumbai for a meeting about sustainability.

From Sunday, Charles will begin a tour of the South Pacific, lasting more than a week, and will spend the majority of his time in New Zealand with wife Camilla before making solo trips to the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/charles-praises-contribution-of-sikhs-to-life-in-uk-38684540.html

Sikh24.com, Will take up the issue of permission for women to perform Kirtan inside Sri Harmandr Sahib, says Akal Takht Jathedar

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 10 November 2019. Commenting on the recent resolution passed by the Punjab assembly seeking permission for women to perform Kirtan inside Sri Harmandr Sahib, the acting Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has said that the issue pertains to the code of conduct of Sri Darbar Sahib and it needs to be deliberated in the light of Gurmat.

“I have not received any communication in this regard from the Punjab government. But once I receive any communication in this regard, I will take up the issue,” he said while adding that this issue can’t be concluded in a single line.

SGPC’s chief secretary Dr Roop Singh has said that the code of conduct (Maryada) in Sri Harmandr Sahib was different from other Sikh shrines. “This issue should not have been raised from a political platform,” he added.

Favoring the Punjab assembly’s resolution, SGPC member Kiranjot Kaur has said that the women should be allowed to perform Kirtan inside sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandr Sahib as there is no place for discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, social status or gender in Sikh philosophy.

Kiranjot Kaur is absolutely right, there cannot be discrimination in any gurdwara, but I am afraid that these jathedars without jatha still live in the middle ages.
Man in Blue

https://www.sikh24.com/2019/11/10/will-take-up-the-issue-of-permission-for-women-to-perform-kirtan-inside-sri-harmandir-sahib-says-akal-takht-jathedar/#.XcllndV7nIU

Sint-Truiden: Halmaal Gurdwara – NMBS Station; Gent: Citadelpark

Halmaal: Sangat Sahib Gurdwara
Guru Nanak Nagar Kirtan
27 October 2019


Tiensesteenweg
The building that I used to live in when in Sint-Truiden


The Nagar Kirtan turns right into Stapelstraat

Gurdwara Sangat Sahib
Halmaal Dorp 20B
3800 Sint-Truiden – Limburg

Sint-Truiden NMBS Station
27 October 2019


Waiting for the train to Blankenberge via Gent


IC Train to coastal resort Blankenberge
via Gent

Gent Citadel Park
Roots
29 October 2019


Tree roots on the path


Tree roots on the path

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sint-Truiden: Halmaal Gurdwara

Halmaal: Sangat Sahib Gurdwara
Guru Nanak Nagar Kirtan
27 October 2019


Divan Hall


If the Panjab Chief Minister sees this
he would see the hand of Pakistan behind it


The lorry transformed into a mobile Gurdwara


On the right the ‘throne’ for the Guru Granth Sahib


Why this picture is so dark I do not know
We had all day sunshine


Halmaal Dorp, just outside the Gurdwara
On our way to Sint-Truiden

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindustan Times – Sikh pilgrims barred from visiting gurudwara in Haridwar

Haridwar – Uttarakhand – India, 10 November 2019. The Uttarakhand police stopped a group (jatha) of over 140 Sikh pilgrims from Delhi who were on their way to Haridwar to visit Gyan Godhri Gurudwara at Har Ki Pauri on Saturday. The pilgrims were intercepted at Purkazi town of Muzaffarnagar district which is situated on the border of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The ‘jatha’ was headed by Gurcharan Singh Babbar, president of All India Sikh Conference, who alleged that the priest community at Har ki Pauri had illegally occupied the land of Gurudwara Gyan Godhri since 1984 and Sikhs were prevented from visiting it for fear of clash with the priest community (pandits).

Babbar told HT on phone that the ‘jatha’ arrived Purkazi town at around 11 pm on Saturday night as the pilgrims wanted to visit Gyan Godhari on the occasion of Guru Nankav Devji’s 550th birth anniversary.

They were having langer (community meal) at Purkazi when superintendent of police, Haridwar, Navneet Kumar and circle officer Dheerendra Kumar arrived there with force and stopped them from entering Uttarakhand.

Babbar said that they feared a clash between members of the two communities and were compelled to stop the ‘jatha’.

The ruckus between police and Sikhs continued till early morning and eventually the police officials allowed a delegation to meet Uttarakhand minister Madan Kaushik on Sunday afternoon.

Babbar said that a delegation met Kaushik but the deadlock continued and finally the Sikh ‘jatha’ was forced to return to Delhi from Purkazi without visiting Gyan Godhari Gurudwara. Babbar said that they had tried many times to visit the gurudwara in the past 15 years but were never allowed to offer prayers there.

A visibly upset Babbar said that Pakistan had donated land to Kartarpur Sahib and was also allowing renovation in different gurdwaras there, “but we have been deprived of visiting an important place of our Guru in our own country.”

He said that Uttarakhand had a BJP government and it should help Sikhs in getting their right to visit their gurdwara instead of bowing down to pandits who were opposing a gurdwara at Har Ki Pauri and were illegally occupying it since 1984.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/sikh-pilgrims-barred-from-visiting-gurudwara-in-haridwar/story-LYOYKz27aVU9ulNR1U4SJK.html