Pakistan Sikh devotees irked by new visa rules

Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 0:00 [IST]
 
New visa rules irk Pak Sikh devotees

Amritsar, Jul 26: Sikh pilgrims from Pakistan are irked by the new visa rules, which make it mandatory that such visitors report to police after reaching India.

"Pilgrims on reaching Indian soil can delay their visit to Golden Temple to pay obeisance... but if they delay their visit to the police station would never be pardoned as they would be lodged behind the bars," Ramesh Singh, chairman of Pakistan Sikh Council and deputy leader of a delegation of 131 Hindu and Sikhs who are here on pilgrimage, said.

Singh said that he has been visiting India regularly for the last five years and bring Sikhs with him to pay obeisance at various shrines, but for the first time all the Pakistani pilgrims were strictly told to report to the local police within 24 hours as the condition was mentioned on their visas.

He said that Indian embassy in Pakistan has sanctioned 35 days visa for eight Indian cities - Amritsar, New Delhi, Hemkund Sahib, Nagpur, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mumbai and Raipur.

As per the visa condition, all the pilgrims were told to police report in all the cities where they go. Another devotee Achar Das, an eye surgeon in Sindh province of Pakistan said, "I feel both the governments should be liberal on visa issues."

He said that people who are above 60 years should be given life time visa to visit both the nations without any restriction.

PTI

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