India lodges protest over Khalistan issue

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Shah was called in to register India's objection to Pakistan making inflammatory remarks and displaying posters with such messages at places where the pilgrims visited.

On Sunday, India had protested against Indian officials, including the High commissioner Ajay Bisaria, being denied access to Jatha of around 1800 Sikh yatris which has been travelling in Pakistan from April 12, under a bilateral agreement on facilitating visits to religious shrines.

To run Pakistan's anti-India propaganda, the Sikh militants also placed posters of Sikh Referendum 2020 in Parikarma of Gurudwara Panja Sahib, the holy Sikh shrine.

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It may be recalled that Pakistani security agencies including the notorious ISI have always been under the scanner for their role in trying to get pro-Khalistan elements in Europe and North America to instigate Indian Sikh pilgrims who visit Pakistan.

India and Pakistan are back to sniping at each other with the MEA on Monday summoning the deputy high commissioner of Pakistan to lodge a protest against attempts by Islamabad to raise the "Khalistan" issue while Sikh pilgrims are visiting the country. The statement said that the repeated attempts by Pakistani authorities and institutions to support secessionist movements is an interference in India's internal affairs.

In August a year ago, a parliamentary standing committee headed by former Union minister Shashi Tharoor in its report presented in the Lok Sabha had said, "The committee visited Dera Baba Nanak and came across the long-pending demand of people for establishment of an exclusive corridor from the Indian side to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib through which pilgrims can pay homage without any visa or passport".

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Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal also said that it was "deeply regrettable that facts in this matter had been completely distorted and misrepresented".

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman had on Sunday rejected the allegations as "baseless". Pakistan had claimed that the Indian high commission and the Evacuee Trust Property Board in Pakistan had mutually agreed to cancel the high commissioner's visit befo-rehand as some Sikh pilgrims from across the world gathered in Pakistan were agitated over the film Nanak Shah Fakir on the first Sikh guru and founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak, which incidentally has generated controversy over its release in India. The statement notes that the actions that occurred during the visit by the Indian pilgrims are contrary to the 1974 bilateral Protocol, which serves as a guideline for the exchange of these kinds of visits between the two countries.

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