LAHORE: The 179th death anniversary of Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjeet Singh was observed on Friday and the central event was held at Gurdwara Dera Sahab Lahore.
Sikh pilgrims from India attended the central event, while Indian diplomats were barred from entering Gurdwara Derah Sahab by the worshippers. Indian diplomats and members of the Sikh community have been at loggerheads ever since an April 18, 2018 Indian Supreme Court verdict over the Khalistan movement and it’s allowing the release of a controversial film on Guru Nanak Devji
The ceremony of Mahraja Ranjeet Singh’s death anniversary was held at his shrine in Gurdwara Dera Sahab. Those prominent among the Sikh pilgrims, who came from India, were offered “saropay” to wear.
The ETPC chairman attended the ceremony for the first time and said swift work was underway to restore and renovate the sacred places of Hindus in the region. “Sikh pilgrims are always welcome in Pakistan and they are provided with every facility.”
Sikh pilgrim group leader Balvinder Singh, who arrived from India, said Pakistan is like a second home. He added that followers of the faith considered Pakistani land as sacred. Singh continued that Pakistan was setting an unprecedented example when it came to caring for minority groups.
“Pakistan has given love and respect to Indian Sikh pilgrims. We cannot forget that and pray for the unity of both countries (India and Pakistan). Former Bandhak Community’s chief Sardar Bashan Singh said the way Sikhs are being treated in India is condemnable. “They tormented us by making a controversial film about the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
He added the Sikh nation would not accept a ban on the Khalsa slogan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2018.