Pakistan accuses India of ‘preventing’ Sikh pilgrims from attending ‘Jor Mela’ in Lahore
Holding India responsible for only 14 devotees arriving to attend the annual ‘Jor Mela’ in Lahore, Pakistan today alleged that the Indian authorities stopped many pilgrims at Attari Railway Station citing technical reason.
‘Jor Mela’ is observed to mark the death anniversary of fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev.
According to Amir Hashmi, spokesman of Evacuee Trust Property Board which looks after the minority holy places in Pakistan, Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi had issued visas to 80 Sikh pilgrims but 66 of them were not allowed to attend the event.
“The Samjhauta Express train left for Attari on Thursday to bring 80 Sikhs for Jor Mela but when it reached there its staff was told by Indian authorities that the Sikh pilgrims couldn’t board it as their visa only allow them to go to Pakistan on a special train,” Amir Hashmi said.
Hashmi further said that the Pakistan Railways was willing to send a special train to India to ferry the pilgrims but the Indian authorities didn’t allow.
“Fourteen of the total 80 pilgrims had a visa allowing them to enter Pakistan by road. They crossed Wagha Border by foot where the ETPB officials received them,” Hashmi said.
The 10-day festival, which is also called Shaheedi Jor Mela, will be held at Panja Sahib and Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore.
The 14 pilgrims were taken to Gurdwara Panja Sahib Hasan Abdal.
The Sikh pilgrims will return to India through the Wagah border on June 17, according to a report in Radio Pakistan.
(With PTI inputs)