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5-member SGPC delegation holds meeting with officials of PSGPC, ETPB in Lahore

Amritsar, September 5:

To mark the first centenary of Shaheedi Saka (martyrdom massacre) of Sri Panja Sahib in Pakistan, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) have decided to jointly organise the centenary events with support of each other. The centenary of Saka Sri Panja Sahib is being marked by SGPC at large scale on October 30, 2022.

The decision was taken in a meeting between a 5-member delegation of SGPC, office-bearers, members and officials of PSGPC and ETPB in Lahore on Wednesday. In this meeting, apart from discussing marking the centenary events of Saka Sri Panja Sahib with Panthic grandeur, many international Sikh issues were also discussed.

A 5-member SGPC delegation reached Pakistan today via Wagah Border, to discuss the centenary events of Saka Sri Panja Sahib with PSGPC and ETPB. This delegation of SGPC was led by its President Advocate Harjinder Singh Dhami, comprising SGPC General Secretary Jathedar Karnail Singh Panjoli, member Bhai Rajinder Singh Mehta, Dharam Prachar Committee secretary Balwinder Singh Kahlwan, Yatra Department in-charge Rajinder Singh Ruby. On arrival in Pakistan, the SGPC delegation was welcomed with garlands and bouquets by the representatives and officials of PSGPC and ETPB.

Meanwhile, in a meeting at Lahore, SGPC delegation, officials of PSGPC and ETPB discussed organising and arrangements of centenary events.

After a one-day visit, SGPC President Advocate Harjinder Singh Dhami, who returned to India in the evening said that during the meeting in Lahore, a consensus was reached that main event of centenary of Saka Sri Panja Sahib should be organised on October 30, 2022, to organise 1-hour Gurbani Kirtan event at the railway track near Panja Sahib where the tragedy took place in 1922 to offer tributes to martyrs, for participation of groups of raagis, dhadis (balladeers), kavishars (poetry) and Panthic personalities, and for organising Amrit Sanchar (initiation ceremony). He said all the events will be organised jointly and approval will be taken regarding organising Gurbani Kirtan at the railway track.

SGPC President Advocate Dhami said that the SGPC will provide all support for the main event at Sri Panja Sahib including deputing the groups of raagis, dhadis, kavishars, and the SGPC will organise the Amrit Sanchar (initiation ceremony) during the centenary events, in which, kakaars (symbols of faith) will be provided free to the Sikhs.

Advocate Dhami said that PSGPC has been assigned the duty of langar, transportation and accommodation for the pilgrims who would arrive to participate in centenary and the PSGPC has been asked to give the details of the entire arrangements soon so that the necessary action in this regard is taken by SGPC in time.

SGPC President said that he has raised a demand before the ETPB officials that on-arrival visas should be given to the pilgrims willing to pay obeisance at Sikh shrines in Pakistan, so that maximum number of pilgrims can visit during regularly in routine.

SGPC President said that he has also raised a demand Pakistan Sikh Sangat demanded that under the agreement between India and Pakistan, four Sikh jathas (groups) of pilgrims visit to pay obeisance at Sikh shrines, and this number should be increased to seven jathas. Advocate Dhami said that to increase the number of Sikh jathas, PSGPC has written to the Pakistan government and demanded from the SGPC to raise the same demand with the Government of India. He said Pakistan Sikh Sangat wants three more jathas of Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the Sikh shrines there on the occasions including Jyoti Jot Diwas of Guru Nanak Dev, birth anniversary of Guru Ramdas and Saka Nankana Sahib.

Advocate Dhami said that the Pakistan Sikh Sangat has also demanded that Indian government should remove the condition of online registration before allowing the visit for paying obeisance at Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib through Kartarpur Sahib Corridor and it should allow pilgrims who visit at the Corridor directly by setting up counters to ease the process so that the Sikh pilgrims do not face inconvenience of online process. SGPC President said that in this matter, the SGPC has already made a demand from the Government of India and even now, action will be taken in this regard.

He said that the PSGPC wants to establish a library and museum based on the life of Guru Nanak Dev at Sri Nankana Sahib, in which the SGPC will support them.

SGPC President said that no shortage will be left to mark the centenary jointly and the SGPC will itself lead the jatha of Sikh pilgrims on this occasion.

Meanwhile, SGPC President paid obeisance at Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, Lahore and also visited the Samadh of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. At Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, members of the SGPC delegation including the president were honoured.

Those present in the meeting including 5-member SGPC delegation, ETPB chairman Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani, additional secretaries Rana Sahid and Saifu Rahman Khokhar, PSGPC President Amir Singh, former president Satwant Singh and Bishan Singh, PSGPC members Kirpa Singh, Dr. Mahipal Singh, Dr. Sarbat Singh, S. Ravinder Singh, two Granthi Singhs from Gurdwara Giani Pritam Singh and Giani Manjit Singh.