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Railways Says No Permission to Receive Train from Pakistan at Attari to Bring 130 Sikh Pilgrims

Pakistan had issued visas to around 200 Indian Sikhs to attend the Shahdi Jor Mela, which marks the death anniversary of fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev, and they were due to arrive in Lahore by a Pakistani train on Friday.

PTI

Updated:June 15, 2019, 7:36 PM IST
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Railways Says No Permission to Receive Train from Pakistan at Attari to Bring 130 Sikh Pilgrims
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New Delhi: The Railways on Saturday said it had no permission to let a train from Pakistan into Attari to ferry 130 Sikh passengers to Lahore for pilgrimage, a day after the neighbouring country alleged that India refused to let its train cross the border.

Such permissions are usually sought by the foreign ministry of one country from that of the other, officials said.

Pakistan had issued visas to around 200 Indian Sikhs to attend the Shahdi Jor Mela, which marks the death anniversary of fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev, and they were due to arrive in Lahore by a Pakistani train on Friday.

But they were informed at Attari Railway station that there was no permission from the Indian authorities to allow the train coming from Wagah to enter the station so that they could board it.

"We had no permission to receive/run the train at Attari station," a spokesperson for Northern Railway Deepak Kumar told PTI.

On Friday, United Akali Dal General Secretary Paramjit Singh Jijani, who was leading the Sikh group to Pakistan, also claimed that the Indian Railways has refused to give permission to the special train from Pakistan to enter the Attari railway station to carry around 130 yatris to Lahore.

He said the Pakistan embassy had already issued a seven-day visa to all the 130 Sikh members to visit Lahore and some other Sikh shrines in the neighbouring country, including Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

Meanwhile, India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over its refusal to grant visa to 87 Indian pilgrims who wanted to visit the neighbouring country to attend Shahdi Jor Mela.

The pilgrims, who were denied visa, were part of the official jatha (group), the sources said, adding that restrictive visa was granted to a private group of Indian pilgrims.

The Ministry of External Affairs has registered its strong protest at Pakistan government's refusal to grant visa for official jatha comprising 87 pilgrims on the occasion of Shahidi Jor Mela - Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji's Martyrdom Day on June 7, the sources said. The pilgrims visit Gurdwara Dera Sahib on the occasion.

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