Coronavirus trims strength of Hindu jatha’s going on pilgrimage to Pakistan

Coronavirus trims strength of Hindu jatha’s going on pilgrimage to Pakistan

AMRITSAR: Coronavirus pandemic is likely to overshadow the strength of Hindu pilgrimage to Hyat Pitaphi and Katasraj cluster of temples in Pakistan even as Pakistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has begun preparations to receive the Indian Hindu pilgrims.
While talking to TOI, ETPB deputy secretary Faraz Abbas informed that a jahta of Shadani Darbar and Kendrya Sanatan Dharam Sabha would arrive Pakistan on December 15 and December 23 respectively.
He informed that Shadani Darbar’s jatha would enter Pakistan on December 15 and was given special permission to travel up to Hyat Pitaphi by buses. Besides Hyat Pitaphi, the Hindu jatha would be visiting Mathelo, Sukkur and Khanpur Mahar, Ghotki and Mirpur Mathelo, Daharki before leaving for India on December 21.
“Normally the Hindu jatha leaves for Hyat Pitaphi, about 700 kilometers from Lahore, by train but due to coronavirus, Pakistan government has made a special arrangement of buses for the Indian Hindu pilgrims” said Faraz.
In recent past as against a routine strength of over 3000 devotees, a Sikh jatha of around 850 pilgrims only had gone to Pakistan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev due to coronavirus pandemic.
Secretary Shadani Darbar Babu Lal informed that according to bilateral protocol agreement on visit to religious shrines 1974, as many as 400 devotees could go but this year they had received only around 70 passports. Similarly president of Kendrya Sanatan Dharam Sabha Shiv Partap Bajaj informed that there wasn’t much enthusiasm among devotees to visit Pakistan due to coronavirus.
Deputy secretary ETPB Faraz Abbas informed that chairman of ETPB Aamer Ahmad had visited the Katasraj to inspect the development work and the arrangements for the Indian devotees.
“I went to Katasraj along with my relevant team and inspected the preparations, finalized the matters including transportation, accommodation, security etc and gave the required instructions, Inshallah the Indian yatree’s will get the befitting hospitality” said Aamer Ahamd.
Bajaj informed that Hindu jatha would be going to Katasrja to celebrate the Mokshda Ekadashi and Shree Geeta Jayanti Utsav besides, celebrating the utsav of Sri Lav Maharaj Samadhi in old Shahi Qila, Lahore.
However, both Babu Lal and Bajaj said they were yet to get the nod from the government for sending the jatha both due to coronavirus pandemic and given the political relations between the two countries.

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