Sikh24.com – Punjab Flood Alert: SGPC announces to provide free food and accommodation to the sufferers

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 18 August 2019. Recognizing the duty towards service of humanity, the apex Sikh body Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has announced to food and accommodation to the villagers who have been evacuated from their villages in the wake of possible release of water from the Bhakra Dam reservoir.

It is learnt that the SGPC has gone active to help the victim villagers.

Speaking with media, the SGPC’s chief secretary Dr Roop Singh informed that the managers of state-wide Gurdwara Sahibans have been directed to make sufficient arrangements for accommodating the victim villagers and offer them food till the situation doesn’t get averted.

He has appealed the Punjab masses to contact the Gurdwara Sahiban authorities if they feel any need.

It is noteworthy here that the Bhakra Beas Management Board is likely to release water in more than usual quantity due heavy rainfall in the region. The Bhakra Dam reservoir is learnt to be only five feet below its upper mark.

Punjab Flood Alert: SGPC announces to provide free food and accommodation to the sufferers

The Asian Age – Mystic Mantra: Nankana Sahib has a special place in Sikh history

Kulbir Kaur

New Delhi – India, 19 August 2019. Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, was born in 1469 at Talwandi of Rai Bhoe, now known as Nankana Sahib, a town in Sheikhpura district of Pakistan. Guru Nanak had spent the first 15 years of his life at Talwandi Sahib.

Rai Buler, the chief of Talwandi, was a contemporary of Guru Nanak and in fact, one of the first people to recognise the light of the divine in Guru Nanak. Once while he was tending a herd of cattle, the Guru lay down to rest under a tree and fell asleep. Rai Buler was surprised to see that the shadows of other trees had moved with the movement of the sun but not of the tree under which Nanak slept.

Similarly, on another occasion, Rai Buler received a complaint that the cattle Guru Nanak was in charge of had entered and damaged the crop of a farmer. Guru Nanak’s father was asked to pay for the damage but when they went there to calculate the losses, they found everything intact and there was no damage.

Rai Buler became a devotee of Guru Nanak and declared that the Guru was a saint and the honour of the village. The village was renamed as Nankana Sahib and the gurdwara built at the site where Guru Nanak was born is known as Gurdwara Janam Asthan or Gurdwara Nankana Sahib.

The place is dotted with sacred shrines associated with Guru Nanak. In addition to the main shrine, Gurdwara Janam Asthan, there is Gurdwara Patti Sahib, marking the place of Guru Nanak’s school. Gurdwara Bal Lila is the place where the Guru as a child used to play. Gurdwara Kiara Sahib marks the field which was reported as damaged by a farmer and no damage was discovered.

The place where the tree with the shade was found by Rai Buler is called Gurdwara Mal Ji Sahib. There is another important site where Guru Nanak had spent all the money given by his father to feed hungry sadhus, terming it as a sachha sauda, and to escape his father’s wrath, he had hidden himself under the tent (tambu) like tree, hence the name of the site as Gurdwara Tambu Sahib.

Gurdwara Nankana Sahib has a special place in Sikh history and on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has organised an international nagarkirtan called “Kaal Taran Guru Nanak Aiya”.

A jatha (group) of 550 sangats was especially sent to Pakistan for this purpose. The nagarkirtan started from Gurdwara Nankana Sahib on July 25 and not only Sikh and Hindu followers participated in the procession, but even Muslim devotees followed it till the Wagah border.

The flower-decked palanquin of the Guru Granth Sahib was led by panj-piarias and it passed through the areas used to be populated by the Sikhs in pre-Partition India. To mark this historic moment, the foundation stone of Baba Guru Nanak University (BGNU) at Nankana Sahib was laid by Sardar Usman Buzdar, Pakistani Punjab’s chief minister, who also planted saplings dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev.

The nagarkirtan, starting from Nankana Sahib, would pass through around 65 cities of India, covering almost 17 states and conclude after about 100 days at Gurdwara Ber Sahib, Sultanpur Lodhi. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee will also organise an international seminar at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Kulbir Kaur teaches sociology at Shyama Prasad Mukherji College, Delhi University

https://asianage.com/opinion/oped/190819/mystic-mantra-nankana-sahib-has-a-special-place-in-sikh-history.html

Outlook – Pro-Khalistan Sikhs, Pakistanis hold protest on Kashmir outside UN In New York

About 400 people marched from India’s UN mission to a cordoned-off area opposite the UN shouting slogans for Khalistan and Kashmir on India’s Independence Day.

UNO – New York – USA. 17 August 2019. Pro-Khalistan Sikhs joined by some Pakistanis held a protest outside the UN demanding the restoration of Kashmir’s special status.

About 400 people marched from India’s UN mission to a cordoned-off area opposite the UN on Thursday, which was India’s Independence Day. They shouted slogans for Khalistan and Kashmir, holding flags of Kashmir-occupied “Azad” Kashmir and yellow Khalistani and blue “referendum” banners.

Most of the participants were Sikhs, with a few Pakistanis and Kashmiris.

A diplomat from Pakistan’s UN Mission was seen moving in their midst taking pictures of the demonstration.

The organisers billed it as a protest by “Kashmiris and Pro-Khalistan Sikhs” with the support of “local Sikh Gurdwaras”.

Gurpatwant Pannun of Sikhs for Justice, who was the main organiser, said that they shared a common cause with Kashmiris. He said that his organisation was organising a “referendum” on Khalistan next year.

Pannun that they had presented to a UN Human Rights official, whom he would not identify, a memorandum addressed to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesperson asking for deployment of UN peace-keepers in Kashmir and holding a plebiscite there, as well as recognising his group’s Khalistan “referendum”.

Only the Security Council, and not the Secretary-General, can deploy peacekeepers.

Kuldip Singh Dhillon, the President of the Sikh Cultural Society of New York, which runs the biggest gurdwara in the city, said that his organisation supported the demand for returning to the status quo in Kashmir and asserted that they had a common cause with Kashmiris.

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/world-news-pro-khalistan-sikhs-hold-protest-with-pakistanis-outside-un-on-kashmir/336362

Reuters – Sikh leader in Kashmir raps India’s revoking of region’s autonomy

Zeba Siddiqui, Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 14 August 2019. India’s move to revoke the autonomy of Kashmir has increased anti-India sentiment in the Himalayan region and will backfire, said the president of the largest Sikh group in Jammu and Kashmir state.

Sikhs represent just 2% of the population in Muslim-majority Kashmir but are spread across the state, engaging in everything from farming and government services to running bakeries and provision stores.

“They have committed a big blunder,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, president of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee, a group of civil and religious organisations from the Sikh community. “They could have changed laws, but at least they should have consulted us,” Raina said in an interview.

The federal and Jammu and Kashmir governments did not immediately return emails and messages seeking a response to from Raina, one of the few community leaders in Kashmir to go public with criticism of India’s step following the detention of over 500 local leaders or activists over the past 11 days.

The Delhi government has said its lifting of Kashmir’s special rights, which allowed it to create many of its own laws, is meant to bringing the state more into the India fold, help combat terrorism and to give the region a chance to grow faster.

The dramatic policy shift is getting widespread support within India’s majority Hindu community. Many opposition MPs have supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party on the matter.

The change means that non-residents will be allowed to buy property in Kashmir and state government jobs will not be reserved for residents. To some in the Sikh community that is a threat as many families own land on which they grow produce and have members who are in government jobs.

Raina, who sells liquefied petroleum gas for cooking in central Srinagar, said he was concerned the government was creating anti-Muslim sentiment and dividing the community.

The Sikh community in Kashmir still bears the scars from the Chittisinghpura massacre in 2000, in which 36 Sikhs were lined up and shot in a village. The Indian government said the atrocity was committed by an Islamist militant group.

Raina said the current security clampdown in Kashmir, including the detention of moderate local leaders, meant that “anti-India sentiment has grown stronger.” That, he said, would make it more difficult for someone with nationalist pro-India views to live in Kashmir in the future.

Raina’s views were backed up by Harbinder Singh, a Sikh businessman from Srinagar’s Batamaloo area. “There is a big problem, it’s not a small thing that (special status) has been revoked. We are extremely disappointed,” he said.

Singh said he feared for the future of the Kashmiri Sikh community. “We Kashmiris didn’t have much, we just had this special status, and now this is also taken from us. This will mean that our people will find it hard to get jobs here.”

Edited by Martin Howell

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-india-kashmir-sikhs/sikh-leader-in-kashmir-raps-indias-revoking-of-regions-autonomy-idUKKCN1V41G8?rpc=401&

The Citizen – Punjab comes out in strong support of Kashmiris

See parallels in 1984

Rajeev Khanna

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 10 August 2019. One state that is vociferously raising its voice in support of the people of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A by the central government is neighbouring Punjab.

Right from the government to various political organizations and civil society activists and organizations both in India and abroad, there has been opposition to the step taken by the Centre, particularly the manner in which it was done by silencing the voice of the Kashmiris.

There are many reasons, similarities in experience and also certain distinct historical reasons for Punjabis coming out to voice support. Many are drawing parallels between the eve of Operation Bluestar in 1984 and the build up in Jammu and Kashmir before Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the government’s decision in Parliament.

“It needs to be understood that both Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are places where national minorities (Sikhs and Muslims) are in a majority. Both have witnessed a divide between the communities. But while Punjab has displayed a composite culture, things have been a lot different in Kashmir over the recent past.

Another major difference is that while Pakistan has been directly involved in Kashmir, this was not the case in Punjab,” senior political commentator Jagtar Singh said.

Underlining the similarities in the build up, he said that in Punjab too the centre had muzzled the voice of the people in 1984 by cutting off communication links and imposing a curfew. “The role of the media was also the same where nobody spoke for the people and those who did were treated as suspects.

At present some of the portals are at least trying to give a clear picture of what is happening in Kashmir,” he told The Citizen. He is of the view that there would be repercussions.

He pointed out that till date the Sikh issue continues to raise its head at regular intervals. He also aired concern over the possibility of Khalistani and Kashmiri separatists joining hands in future.

Singh further made an interesting observation that whether it has been Kashmir or Punjab; those carrying the gun have never bothered for Article 370 or any other law. The main issue in both these states has basically been autonomy.

Poet Rajwinder Meer who has been touring the hinterland of Malwa region trying to gauge the mood of the common masses said there is a lot of anger among the people on how the Kashmiris have been treated by the centre.

They are particularly annoyed at the irresponsible comments that are being aired by the Hindutva elements with regard to Kashmiri women.

“The general sentiment is that humiliation of any community backfires. In the recent past whenever we saw the state targeting the people protesting peacefully like in Tuticorin we were reminded of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, but now we are witnessing the creation of a West Bank and Gaza here itself,” he said.

Meer Said that there had been several protests in the Malwa region against the Centre’s decision but these had gone largely unreported by the mainstream media.

He further said, “Those who are politically aware are peeved at the people in other states who are celebrating the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A. They feel that Kashmir has lost whatever partial autonomy it had. Instead of striving for similar autonomy for their own respective states, it is a sad state of affairs that people are celebrating what has been done.”

In fact, taking strong exception to the comments from Hindutva elements about Kashmiri women, one of the Akal Takht Jathedars Giani Harpreet Singh has come out with a statement saying that these are serious offences against women and cannot be ignored.

Recalling how the Sikh women were treated by people of the same mentality in 1984, he stated that Sikhs will not allow anyone to repeat 1984 with Kashmiri women.

Not missing out on the Punjabi sentiment, state chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh came out with a strong reaction to the centre’s move. He was among the very few Congress leaders who categorically attacked the centre for the move terming it unconstitutional and undemocratic while calling it ‘a dark day for the Indian democracy’.

Objecting to the arbitrary manner in which things were done, Amarinder Singh said the constitutional provisions had been abused as never before.

The issue is all set to play out in state politics in the days to come as the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) that has always claimed to hold the flag of federalism and autonomy has supported the BJP government at the centre, and is facing a strong reaction from the Sikhs in particular.

Another interesting perspective on how the issue is playing out in the state comes from an open letter written by Dal Khalsa chief Harpal Cheema to the US President Donald Trump. The once hard line Dal Khalsa is a group that is pursuing radical politics through democratic means even as it propagates the right to self determination.

In his letter Cheema while endorsing the unequivocal right to self-determination of Kashmiris and expressing solidarity with them said, “India’s retrograde step to convert the state into a union territory is not only an assault on the territorial status of the region but also a concerted attempt to revert to the pre-1953 status of Kashmir, clearly carried out to evade India’s international obligation and subjugate the people of Kashmir.”

He has favoured American intervention on Kashmir saying that it is quite evident from the history of the last seven decades that India and Pakistan cannot resolve the issue bilaterally and hardly any effort has ever been made to make Kashmir and pro-Kashmiri leaders as part of the conflict resolution process.

Meanwhile, Punjabis living abroad are also speaking out on the issue and are planning protests to register their anger. One such protest has been planned in Surrey in Canada on August 18 by an organization called Indians Abroad for Pluralist India.

It needs to be recalled that it was Punjabis who had come forward to help Kashmiri youth that was being targeted by right wing groups in the aftermath of Pulwama attack on Indian security forces earlier this year. The state had gone all out to ensure that the youth reached home safely.

https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/9/17391/Punjab-Comes-Out-in-Strong-Support-of-Kashmiris?fbclid=IwAR3vpHaGtYgeL-stLeCt7UTzO-bOlc1PFBQcgZ9WdRSqsWkRHBizfup4pEA

Sikh24.com – Anti-minority mindset of RSS is ruling India, say Panthic bodies

Denouncing Indian state for trampling the rights of Sikhs & Kashmiris, the Sikh leaders to observe 15 August 15 as black day

Sikh24 Editors

Tarn Taran – Panjab – India, 10 August 2019. Extending their solidarity with Kashmiri people and their cause, the Dal Khalsa and SAD (Amritsar) today fired a salvo against Akali Dal (Badal) for supporting Indian government’s move to strip J&K of its special status.

“Akalis have shot in their own foot by conveniently joining the RSS/BJP bandwagon to trample and snatch the rights of another minority,” the leaders of duo parties said in a press conference held in Tarn Taran today.

“How can they dare to ask for autonomy to Punjab in future, which has been the core agenda of SAD since 1970’s and on whose plank they launched the morcha”, said Dal Khalsa’s spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh.

He also questioned studied silence of likes of Sukhpal Singh Khaira who is known votary of devolution of power. He said Sukhbir and Sukhpal should not be in any illusion.

“The Indian state is not going to devolve power as sought by Akali Dal since 80’s. The direction, in which the current Indian state under Narendra Modi is transforming, is towards more centralization and more Hinduization,” he said.

Kanwar Pal Singh along with representatives of SAD (Amritsar) was in the city to meet people and make arrangement for the demonstration in the city on 15 August. He was accompanied by UAD leader Gurdeep Singh Bathinda and Harpal Singh of SAD Amritsar.

Pertinently, Dal Khalsa, SAD (Amritsar), United Akali Dal and Sikh Youth of Punjab have joined hands to stage protests on Independence Day against the atrocities, political subjugation and denial of rights to Sikhs in the last seven decades. Their activists will hold a two hour demonstration at 15 district headquarters.

They clarified that their boycott of 15 August shouldn’t be construed as they were against Indian people. They said they were against the policies and discriminative attitude of Indian state.

Referring to Narendar Modi’s address to the countrymen in which he said article 370 and 35-A paved way to secessionism in Kashmir, Kanwar Pal Singh reminded that Modi’s one-time mentor and BJP stalwart L K Advani has dubbed the Anandpur Sahib resolution as secessionist document in his book “My country, My life”.

Its RSS anti-minority mentality that’s reflected from Advani’s and Modi’s views about minority aspirations, he said without mincing words.

He said due to increased hostilities between India and Pakistan in the wake of Indian government abrogating article 370, the Kartarpur corridor is likely to become causality. Notwithstanding Pakistan’s public commitment for going ahead with corridor project, he said the region is sitting on an edge where even a spark can ignite the already surcharged atmosphere.

They slammed BJP leaders including Haryana chief minister for using derogatory words against Kashmiri women. They warned Hindutva brigade to hold their tongue. They said Badal appointed Jathedar Gaini Harpreet Singh has rightly and timely issued warning to such sick mind elements and urged Sikhs to come forward and protect the dignity of Kashmiri women at all cost.

Anti-minority mindset of RSS is ruling India, says Panthic bodies

World Sikh News – Panthic bodies seek Sirsa Dera head trial for sacrilege – blasts – protest 15 August

Published 6 days ago – WSN Punjab Desk. Coming together to launch a frontal attack on the injustice and blasphemy of the Sirsa Dera and its chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, three Panthic bodies, Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar and the United Akali Dal have sought trial of the Sirsa Dera head for sacrilege and Maur bomb blasts and have planned a peoples’ protest all around Punjab on 15 August, later this month.

In its resolve to fight against injustices and enslavement, three Panthic organizations, Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar and United Akali Dal will hold protest demonstrations all around Punjab on August 15, coinciding with India’s 72nd Independence day and holding the day as a day of protest.

The protests will focus on continued loot of river waters of Punjab, strong resistance against the draconian legislative amendments to make UAPA more stringent and draconian giving unbridled powers to NIA by infringing state’s rights, misuse of the laws of sedition, release of four police convicts through a state pardon, denial of justice to Sikh detainees and the denial of right to self-determination to the people of Punjab.

Further­more, the closure report by the CBI in the Barghari sacrilege case is yet another cause of concern and anger amongst the Sikh population of Punjab.

At a recent meeting of the three bodies attended among others by Kanwar Pal Singh, Jasbir Singh Khandur, Paramjit Singh Tanda, Prof Mohinder Pal Singh, Jaskaran Singh Kahansingh­wala, Gurdeep Singh Bhatinda, Bahadur Singh Nawanshahr and SYP president Paramjit Singh Mand resolved to take this joint step.

Addressing a press conference, Kanwar Pal Singh said the protests will be a reiteration of our aspirtion to be free and to up­hold the legitimate rights including the right to self-determination of the people of Punjab.

The protest program will be organised in Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Sangrur, Bhatinda, Mansa, Ferozpur, Faridkot, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Chandigarh, Moga, Barnala and Tarn Taran.

Taking a strong view of conflicting and self-contradicting statements by Captain Amarinder Singh and Sukhbir Singh Badal on sacrilege issue and CBI report, Kan­warpal Singh told the media that the chief minister lacks will power to crack the case and ex­pose the real conspirators.

Even the victims of Maur Bomb blast cry for justice but the CM has turned his back on them too because he knows that the conspiracy leads to Sirsa.

The Panthic bodies demanded that the Dera Sirsa Chief should be interrogated and prosecuted in the various cases of sacrilege and the Maur Bomb blast case.

The Chief Minister asking the CBI to re-investigate the sacrilege case goes against the spirit of the Vidhan Sabha that passed the resolution to withdraw the probe from the central agency.

Pointing out the failure of Punjab government to prosecute former DGP S S Saini in the Bebhal Kalan firing, party leaders said the reports clearly indicate that the police hierarchy has arm-twisted the political class to defend their men who ordered unprovoked firing on Sikh Sangat.

Will the faith of the public be restored in rule of law with the government’s dilly-dallying and partisan approach?

Panthic bodies seek Sirsa Dera head trial for sacrilege, blasts, protest 15 August

The Tribune – Sikh man detained for carrying kirpan in UK’s Birmingham; video viral

Tribune Web Desk

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 09 August 2019. A police officer of UK’s Birmingham city detained a Sikh man for carrying a kirpan in public on Thursday.

The incident took place on Bull Street in Birmingham and was shared by several people on social media. A Facebook page, ‘British by paper – Punjabi by nature’, posted the video and wrote: ‘Police arrest Sikh man for carrying a kirpan.’

In the video, the man can be heard telling the officer: “I’m a Sikh. I can carry this if I want to.”

The viral clip show the Sikh man, wearing a blue traditional dress with a kirpan strapped around his waist. The officer is seen requesting for back-up.

The officer explains the situation to other officers and the Sikh man is heard asking: “Why, why, why?”

The policeman then talks into his radio again, saying: “He’s a little bit aggro with me”.

After a few seconds, the Sikh man points at a bus driver and asks the officer: “Could you call that bus driver, he goes to my gurdwara.”

A woman is then heard saying: “They are arresting him for no reason for wearing a kirpan”.

The Sikh man then walks towards the bus driver, and the officer tries to stop him. The officer says: “Sir I need you to not wander around while I’ve got you detained.”

The officer can be seen holding onto the Sikh man’s arm as a crowd gathers around.

The video has been viewed over 30,000 times and has divided many in the comments.

In 2018, the UK government made an exemption to the 2018 Offensive Weapons Bill to allow Sikhs to carry kirpans for religious reasons.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sikh-man-detained-for-carrying-kirpan-in-uk-s-birmingham-video-viral/815446.html

Sikh24.com – On Kartarpur corridor project, India likely to wriggle out on the pretext of the Kashmir situation

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 08 August 2019. Alarmed at the emerging tense situation, the Dal Khalsa, SAD ( Amritsar) and other Panthik bodies have said that India’s unilateral action to strip Kashmir of its special status and Pakistan’s natural reaction against it, has triggered the possibility of war between both the nuclear neighbors.

They added that the India-Pakistan relations after India’s retrograde step revoking Article 370 is likely to cast a shadow on Kartarpur corridor and Gurpurab celebrations.

From day one, we were suspicious of India’s intentions. New Delhi has reluctantly accepted Sikh demand for passage to historic Kartarpur Gurdwara Sahib after Pakistan’s nod, said Dal Khalsa’s spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh in a press conference in Moga today.

Accompanied by Gurdeep Singh Bathinda and Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singh wala, he said Gurpurab celebrations have begun. Nagar Kirtan from Nankana Sahib is enroute and second one from Delhi to Nankana Sahib is on the anvil. “On such a sacred occasion India took drastic step against the Kashmiri people by trampling their rights, seizing Kashmir by caging the leadership and the people.

It looks India wants to kill two birds with single stone and wriggle out corridor project on the pretext of the Kashmir situation,” he added.

He said the Indian government has pushed the Sikh community into a state of uncertainty.

The leaders announced the protest rallies on 15 August at 15 districts of the state against injustices and political subjugation. Kashmir is facing state’s tyranny, which Punjab has already faced for decades and the oppressor is the same (read New Delhi), said they.

Referring to the picture of NSA head Ajit Doval published in the entire media wherein he is shown having meal with three Muslims in Shopian area, the leaders of Sikh groups took a jibe and ask nobody knows who are they?

They could be cops, they could be renegades, they could be brought from Delhi for PR photo-show. The picture in which Doval is seen wearing bullet proof jacket and standing before closed shops itself conveys the real ground message which Modi government wants to hide and hoodwink the world.

On Kartarpur corridor project, India likely to wriggle out on the pretext of the Kashmir situation

The Tribune – Visa denial upsets kin of Guru Nanak’s contemporary

Based in Pakistan, Rai Bular Bhatti’s descendants desire to visit Golden Temple (Harmandr Sahib)

G S Paul, Tribune News Service

Nankana Sahib – Panjab – Pakistan, 04 August 2019. The descendants of Rai Bular Bhatti, a 15th Century Muslim landlord of undivided Punjab and a disciple of Guru Nanak Dev, are a dejected lot for not getting fulfilled their desire to visit the Golden Temple. Their application for furnishing visa formalities was repeatedly rejected by the Indian authorities.

Rai Saleem Bhatti (41), a lawyer at Lahore High Court and the 19th generation of Rai Bular Bhatti, said till date the visa could not be procured for the reasons best known to the Indian authorities.

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal confirmed that the programme could not be held due to non-availability of Bhatti family. “We will take up the matter with the Union Home Department for facilitating visa to Bhatti’s descendants,” he said.

The Bhatti family, despite being devout Muslims, has kept alive their ancestral links with Sikhism for the past several generations.

Rai Saleem Bhatti and his 11-year-old son Rai Waleed Bhatti visited Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib on the occasion of nagar kirtan dedicated to the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

The family still continued the legacy by contributing in every way for the wellbeing of people living in the area. The 16th generation, Rai Bashir Ahmed Bhatti, Rai Hadayat Khan Bhatti played important role in Pakistan politics too.

Rai Saleem Bhatti said his cousins Rai Sarvar Khan Bhatti and Rai Ahmad Khan Bhatti’s family had donated 10 acres at Kot Hussan Khan, 5 km from Nankana Sahib, for setting up Nankana Sahib Foundation.

The purpose was to generate jobs and revenue for the upkeep of Sikh shrines in Nankana Sahib. “We desire to get it revived and take up the matter with the Pakistan government,” he said.

His father, Rai Akram Bhatti, also a lawyer, wishes to strengthen Sikh-Muslim cordial ties by conducting Sikh pilgrimage to the holy shrines and invite them to his place.

“Our family owes my birth due to the blessings of Baba Nanak only. Sikh devotees from any part of the world who visit Nankana Sahib hold special place in our heart and we take it as a divine opportunity to serve them,” he said.

Guru Nanak’s father Mehta Kalu was a munshi at Rai Bular Bhatti’s estate. Rai Bular Bhatti, who owned over 36,000 acres, had donated half of it to Guru Nanak in late 15th century. “Bhatti had donated around 18,750 acres.

On some part of the land Gurdwara Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Bal Leela were built. The remaining was leased to locals. The land is now under the control of the Evacuee Property Trust Board, Pakistan,” he said.

SGPC to honour them

  • The SGPC wants to set up a portrait of Rai Bular Bhatti, a 15th Century Muslim landlord of undivided Punjab and a disciple of Guru Nanak Dev, in the Central Sikh Museum.
  • The programme was scheduled for May 5, 2018, but had to be deferred as Bhatti’s descendants were denied visa.
  • Rai Saleem Bhatti, a lawyer at Lahore High Court and the 19th generation of Rai Bular Bhatti, said till date visa could not be procured for the reasons best known to the Indian authorities.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/visa-denial-upsets-kin-of-guru-nanak-s-contemporary/813056.html