Delhi HC allows Sikh leader Sarna to visit Pakistan

November 05, 2019 08:37 PM
Gold Palki for installation at Darbar Baba Nanak at Kartarpur Sahib, Pakistan

By Chanchal Manohar Singh

New Delhi:  The Delhi High Court Monday allowed Paramjit Singh Sarna, President Shiromani Akali Dal, who was stopped at the Attari border, to go to Pakistan and visit Darbar Baba Nanak at Kartarpur Sahib, Narowal in Pakistan. The Gold Palanquin will be installed, kartarpur sahib before 9th November, the day on which Pakistan PPM will inaugurate the Kartarpur corridor to Sikhs for paying obeisance to Indians at Darbar Baba Nanak, Kartarpur Sahib. The Sikh Holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib will be displayed on the Golden Palki at Darbar Baba Nanak.

On October 31, Mr Sarna, who was leading the religious strong 1330-Sikh procession to Pakistan, was not allowed by the immigration authorities at the International Check post at an Attari to enter the neighbouring country since he had a case of cheating registered against him in Delhi in 2012. But charge-sheet was never put in the Court for trial.

Justice Navin Chawla suspended the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against Mr Sarna and asked him to return on or before November 16. He was also asked to be available when invited by the Delhi Police Crime Branch for investigation.

The court also sought responses of ministries of home and external affairs as also Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police on Mr Sarna's plea seeking to quash the circular.

He was going with a Gold Plaki (palanquin) procession on October 31, to Pakistan via International Check post, Attari to visit Darbar Baba Nanak on the 550th anniversary Guru Nanak Dev. Sri Darbar Baba Nanak is the very auspicious for the Sikhs where Guru Nanak Dev ji spend over 17 years of his life before departing for his final abode. He was cremated here. Muslims also built his mazar at the same place. Guru Nanak Dev ji is revered by both the communities the Muslims, the Hindus besides the Sikhs.

On October 31, Mr. Sarna, who was leading the religious procession, was not allowed by the immigration authorities to enter the neighbouring country since he had a case registered against him in Delhi since 2012.

The court was hearing a plea by Mr Sarna to set aside the action by authorities in restraining him from travelling abroad.

The court asked the authorities to respond to the plea and listed the matter for further hearing on January 22, 2020.

Along with the petition, Mr Sarna filed an application seeking to stay the LOC against him.

He said he became aware of the lookout notice only on October 31, when he was stopped from travelling to Pakistan by the immigration authorities at Attari border to take part in the nagar kirtan organised on 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Mr Sarna said he was the main organiser of the Nagar Kirtan (Religious Procession) and he had to be present there on Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 12.

The economic Offences Wing (EOW) submitted before the High Court that the LOC has been issued on the basis of the FIR wherein certain information has been received only in 2019.

The judge said the FIR is dated February 2012, "I see no reason for not allowing the petitioner to travel to Pakistan".The court also asked him to file an affidavit of undertaking that he would be returning to India on or before November 16 and shall thereafter join the investigation as and when asked.

"The LOC shall remain suspended and the petitioner is allowed to travel to Pakistan. The petitioner shall on affidavit disclose the details of itinerary and place of stay and contact number in Pakistan. The petitioner shall also submit a surety of a sum of Rs. 5 lakh to the satisfaction of the Registrar general of this court," the court said.

In his plea, Mr Sarna has sought to call for records of the 2012 FIR registered by the EOW and the LOC issued against him. However, The 1300-Sikh procession and Palki was allowed to cross over to  Pakistan.

The Sikh pilgrims from India visited Gurdwara Janamasthan, Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sodda Farooqabad and other shrines in Pakistan.

The pilgrimage will conclude at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, where a gold palanquin ''Palki Sahib'' will be installed.

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