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Sikh devotees' procession leaves from Delhi for Nankana Sahib: Pak High Commission

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 28, 2019  | 19:14 IST

(Eds: Adds details) /R New Delhi, Oct 28 (PTI) A group of Sikh devotees from India, part of a religious procession, on Monday started off their spiritual journey from Delhi to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, the birthplace of founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev, the High Commission here said. The 'Nagar Kirtan' (procession) is led by Sardar Paramjit Singh Sarna, the former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), and includes representatives from different sections of the Sikh community in India, the Pakistan High Commission said in a statement. On Monday morning, the procession was sent off by several dignitaries, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, it said. Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Syed Haider Shah also attended the send-off ceremony as a special guest, the statement added. The 'Nagar Kirtan' via Ludhiana and Amritsar would be crossing over to Pakistan on October 31 through the Wagah border, the High Commission said. "Today, a religious procession ('Nagar Kirtan') of Sikh devotees from India started off their spiritual journey from New Delhi to the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, founder of the Sikh religion, in Nankana Sahib, a sacred city in Pakistan," the statement said. This 'Nagar Kirtan' from India is being welcomed by Pakistan as a special gesture this year on the auspicious occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, it added. "Around 1,300 visas issued for the 'Nagar Kirtan are over and above the 'jatha' covered under the 'Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines 1974' between Pakistan and India," the statement said. In accordance with the historic initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan to open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, to be inaugurated on November 9, for Sikhs and other 'Naamlevas' of Guru Nanak Dev, Pakistan has facilitated visits of a number of Sikh 'jathas' not only from India but across the globe, it said. The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) with the support of the government of Pakistan has prepared a detailed programme, spanning over a week, for the visiting devotees for performing different religious rituals at holy Sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan, particularly Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib. A special 'jatha' led by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) visited Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, from July 30-August 1 this year to kick-start the celebrations of the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. "To facilitate the 550th anniversary celebrations, the Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, will issue additional visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims, above the 3,000 limit allowed under the bilateral protocol for their visit to Sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan from November 5-14," the statement said. Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522. The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was built here, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died. India and Pakistan last week signed an agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor that will allow Indian pilgrims to undertake visa-free visit to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the shrine of Guru Nanak Dev in Pakistan, notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir. The agreement will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life. PTI KND AQS

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