Sikh committee to deliberate on replacing marble palanquin

'We will receive the gold palanquin in a simple but graceful ceremony on November 30 and Indian Punjab Chief Minister Capt (r) Amrinder will visit Nankana Sahib to hand over the palanquin,' he said, and Guru Garanth's parkash (opening) would be held in the gold palanquin.   However, the idea to replace the old palanquin at Janamasthan Nankana Sahib triggered a controversy among Sikhs in Indian Punjab. Sikh hardliners were of the view that the new palanquin, even if made of gold, could not replace the old one. Sikhs around the world have also expressed mixed feelings over the replacement proposal.  

'Certain sections of the Sikh community do not want the marble palanquin to go because it has great historic and religious value and it would not be advisable to replace the palanquin, several religious Sikh leaders feel,' an Indian newspaper reported.   Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh will reach Lahore on November 29 with the gold palanquin, which was specially made for Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib.   Amrinder Singh's announcement to accompany the delegation bringing the gold palanquin also triggered controversy. Indian Punjab's administration has been trying to rid people of the misunderstanding their Amrinder Singh wanted to replace the old palanquin.  

'The entire controversy was triggered by people who did not want a religious procession to go across the border and the crisis was a deliberate effort to sabotage the procession,' the Indian newspaper quoted Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee President Paramjit Singh Sarna as saying.  

The gold palanquin was scheduled to reach Lahore on Baba Guru Nanak's 536th birth anniversary from November 11 to 15, but the idea was dropped in the aftermath of the October 8 earthquake. Some sources allege that the gold palanquin would give Amrinder Singh a political edge in the coming elections. They said that nearly 1,200 pilgrims would cross the border with the gold palanquin and a 61-member media delegation would accompany the procession and cover the event.  

'It is not an official visit by The Indian chief minister and we will only facilitate members of the delegation, said Punjab Information and Culture Secretary Taimur Azmat, adding that the government would only arrange for the Indian chief minister's overnight stay.  

Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi will receive Amrinder Singh and his delegation.

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