History made as Pakistani Sikhs process into India
Online news site the Punjab Newsline has reported an historic religious procession of Pakistani Sikhs into India.
It says that 370 Pakistani nationals crossed the border in the first such procession since Independence.
The devotees were on their way to take part in Guru Ta Gaddi Diwas, a ceremony observing the tri-centenary of the holy scriptures Guru Granth Sahib which was being held at Takht Hazoor Sahib at Naded in Maharashtra.
The procession was headed by five costumed Sikhs (Punj Piarey), as commanded by custom.
It was welcomed by the Shriomani Gurdwara Pharbandhak Committee (SGPC), by Punjab cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranikey, and Border Security Force (BSF) troops, Punjab police and officers from the civil administration.
At the Attari border point, hundreds of Sikhs showered rose petals on the procession as BSF and police bands played religious themes.
A guard of honor was formed for the Guru Granth Sahib and a Langar (community kitchen) was organised for the Pakistani visitors.
At the head of the procession as it crossed the border wast he acting President of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Pharbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Bishan Singh, along with five executive members.
After the immigration and custom clearance, the Pakistani devotees were taken to Golden Temple in special buses.
Bishan Singh told the media it was first time that both governments had agreed on a procession from Pakistan to India, along with the Sawroop of Guru Granth Sahib and other religious material.
The procession was preceded by a three-day religious function in Pakistan, largely centred on Gurdwara Nanakana Sahib (birth place of founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev). It was also attended by senior government functionaries as well as Sikhs and Hindus and Muslims from all over Pakistan.
With acknowledgements to Punjab Newsline
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