Sikh rights group slams India for preventing Pakistan’s Aziz from visiting Golden Temple in Amritsar

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NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (APP): A US-based Sikh rights group has condemned India for not allowing Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister’s advisor on Foreign Affairs, to visit the Golden Temple during “Heart of Asia Conference” in Amritsar.

“Indian government has no right stop anyone from visiting the Golden Temple as this violates the fundamental tenets of the Sikhism”, the legal advisor to the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, said in a statement on Monday.

In the 500 years of Golden Temple, Pannun said, there has been no incident of violence against anyone who came to pay his or her respects. But, he said, the Golden Temple was attacked by Indian Government in June 1984 resulting in the massacre of thousands of pilgrims.

The Golden Temple was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das Ji, as a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally, an SFJ statement said.

Accordingly, as a gesture of this non-sectarian universality of Sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev Ji had specially invited Muslim Sufi saint, Hazrat Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of the Golden Temple. The four entrances of the Golden Temple facing all four directions symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions.

During two days of Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar, except Pakistan’s Sartaj Aziz, a number of foreign dignitaries, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, were allowed to visit the Golden Temple.

On Nov 29, SFJ, in a letter to Aziz, had urged him to “Raise Sikhs’ Demand For Independence Referendum In “Indian Occupied Punjab” To Create “Khalistan”.