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Pakistan again stops Indian officials from entering Gurudwara in Lahore

File photo Indian diplomat Ranjit Singh. Photograph:( ANI )

Agencies Lahore, Pakistan Nov 23, 2018, 07.04 AM (IST)

Pakistan once again stopped Indian High Commission officials from meeting India pilgrims visiting gurudwara Sacha Sauda In Farooqabad near Lahore.

As the Sikh community observes the 550th birthday of Sri Guru Nanak Dev at Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sacha Sauda, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials posing as Sikhs stopped the entry of Indian diplomats from Islamabad led by Ranjit Singh (in black Band Gala Suite) and Sunil Kumar.

They were also insulted outside the holy place, ANI reported said.

The officials were stopped from entering the Gurudwara and a group of ISI sponsored Sikhs walked the diplomats out of the Gurudwara premises.

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In a video, the Indian diplomat, who himself is a Sikh was found saying, "There are many gurudwaras in India and other parts of the world, but there are no restrictions on anywhere. We have witnessed this for the first time that someone is being stopped from entering Guru's House. This is a violation of sanctity of Gurudwara".

When the Indian diplomat asked Pakistani officials to allow them to enter the gurudwara premises as a normal pilgrim, Gopal Singh Chawla, Chairman of Punjabi Sikh Sangat kept arguing with him and asked him to come some other day.

Others who were in the group including Ramesh Singh Arora, ex-MPA and Tara Singh Pardhan, told the Indian diplomats that "they are helpless" and that they cannot allow them to enter the gurudwara.

While Pakistan prevented Indian High Commission officials to meet Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan, India recently allowed Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood to travel to 'Sirhind Sharif' to take part in the chaddar-laying ceremony, along with the pilgrims from Pakistan. 

In June, Indian envoy Ajay Bisaria was also stopped from visiting Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hasan Abdal. The Pakistani government had claimed that Bisaria was stopped from visiting the gurdwara because of security reasons as Sikh yatris from India did not want to meet him.

The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016 and India's surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. 

Last month, India called off a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in New York, citing the brutal killings of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad releasing postage stamps "glorifying" Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani. 

(With inputs from PTI)