Amritsar, Punjab: Nanakshahi Calendar row has clouded the aspirations of some of the Sikh devotees to observe martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Ji at the place of his martyrdom in Lahore as the Pakistan High Commission has denied visas to SGPC Jatha. SGPC had applied for visa for a Jatha, comprising around 150 Sikhs to visit Lahore (Pakistan) to commemorate the martyrdom day of 5th Sikh Guru Arjan Ji as per amended version of Nanakshahi Calendar.
The SGPC wants to send its Jatha as per the date of May 22, thereby being denied visa for pilgrimage. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara management Committee (DSGMC) which is also controlled by Akali Dal Badal, also follow the Bikrami Calendar.
As told by SGPC Additional Secretary Diljeet Singh Bedi, the SGPC had initiated the process of seeking visas for 108 pilgrims, the list of whom was sent to the Pakistan High Commission which declined to issue visas for the pilgrimage between May 14 and 23.
Bedi, however, disclosed that the Pakistan High Commission had offered them to issue visas for observing ‘gurpurb’ on June 16, but the SGPC didn’t accept it. He said the pilgrims would now be able to visit Pakistan on Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death anniversary on June 29.
The Jatha was denied visas in wake of differences over the date of observing the martyrdom day, with SGPC officials wanting the visa for Sikh pilgrims on May 22, while Pakistan said it would grant visa for June 16 when Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee observes the anniversary. SGPC is following the amended version of Nanakshahi Calendar while the PSGC follows original (unamended) version of Nanakshahi Calendar.
“We wanted the visa for Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan on May 22 when SGPC is observing the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, while Pakistan government said they are observing the day on June 16 and could grant visa only for that day” said Avtar Singh Makkar.
“We would celebrate the day as per our Sikh traditions and not as per Pakistan. This is interference in the internal affairs of Sikhs” he added.
Pakistan High Commission sources said the mission has not denied the visas but the dates given to them by the PSGP is between June 8 to 17 and they can only issue visa for that period.
Meanwhile, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar has asked