Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan on Oct 28, to participate in centenary event

The event will be organized at the Gurdwara Panja Sahib located in Hasan Abdal, some 45 km away from Rawalpindi. Harmeet Singh Kalka, President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), on Tuesday said that the pilgrims will reach Pakistan from the Attari-Wagah border checkpoint on October 28 and will return to Amritsar on November 2.

A group of 240 Sikh pilgrims will visit Pakistan on October 28 to participate in the 'Saka Panja Sahib' centenary event.

The event will be organized at the Gurdwara Panja Sahib located in Hasan Abdal, some 45 km away from Rawalpindi.

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Harmeet Singh Kalka, President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), on Tuesday said that the pilgrims will reach Pakistan from the Attari-Wagah border checkpoint on October 28 and will return to Amritsar on November 2.

They will also visit other historic Sikh shrines in Pakistan, including Gurdwara Panja Sahib and Nankana Sahib, as well as Lahore.

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Of the 240 pilgrims, 40 are being sent by the DSGMC, Kalka added.

Saka Panja Sahib, the heroic event which took place at Hasan Abdal railway station, close to the sacred shrine of Pahja Sahib October 30, 1922, when Sikh masses wanted to provide Langar (community meals) to Sikh prisoners.

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But, they were arrested for peaceful protests in Amritsar and were being sent by special trains to distant jails. Around 200 Sikhs stopped a train forcefully carrying Sikh prisoners to offer them food as authorities refused to halt the train at the station.

Some of them attained martyrdom in the incident as they lay on the track to stop the train. They were hailed as martyrs and, until the partition of 1947, a three-day religious fair used to be held in their memory at Pahja Sahib from October 30 to November 1 every year.

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Kalka said that all pilgrims should be vaccinated with two doses against Covid-19 and must undergo a test 72 hours before leaving for Pakistan.

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A negative RTPCR report is mandatory and a further RAT test will be conducted on arrival at the joint checkpost in Attari-Wagah border.

Accommodation for the visiting devotees will be arranged by the Pakistan government and staff of the Evacuee Trust Properties Board (ETPB) will issue room numbers in all gurdwaras.

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The DSGMC will hold a special Covid-19 testing camp for the pilgrims at its office in Rakab Ganj Sahib, the dates of which will be disclosed shortly, Kalka added.

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