SGPC decided to formulate ‘strict policy’ for sending jathas to Pakistan

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Amritsar: As per the media reports the Sharomani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to formulate a ‘strict policy’ for sending Sikh jathas in Pakistan on various gurpurbs.

Pakistan-based Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) formulate a policy to entertain only Sikhs as part of  jathas.

Learning a lesson from the recent instances in which jatha members misused pilgrimage to cross over to Pakistan, the SGPC is retrieving its decade-old policy in which certain precautionary measures were followed before recommending an applicant for visa. However, these measures were done away with over a period of time due to political intervention, reads a note in The Tribune

The first preference was always given to ‘saabat surat’ (those with unshorn hair or untrimmed beard) Sikhs. The SGPC members, empowered to recommend the pilgrims of their areas, would minutely analyse the applicant’s background, family, character and behaviour. Females could be part of the jatha if they are accompanied by their husband in case they are married, and brother or parents in case they are single.

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal confirmed that the incidents of Kiran Bala and Amarjit Singh have put the SGPC on alert.

A four-member committee comprising SGPC executive member Bhagwant Singh Sialka, SGPC member Surinder Singh Bhulewal Rathan, Ravinder Singh Chakk and Gurtej Singh Dhadde has been constituted to draft the precautionary measures. Additional secretary Jaswinder Singh Deenpur will coordinate the exercise.

“The aim is that only genuine persons become part of jatha, he said.

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