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Dr Singh offers prayers at Golden Temple

March 24, 2009 10:11 IST
Last Updated: March 24, 2009 10:24 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Tuesday paid obeisance at the Golden Temple [Images] in Amritsar [Images], his first visit outside Delhi [Images] after undergoing a heart bypass surgery.

Making an early morning trip to the holiest Sikh shrine, Dr Singh accompanied by his wife Gurusharan reached the complex at 6 am and spent an hour there.

Inside the shrine's sanctum sanctorum, Jatehdar Akal Takht Gyani Gurbanchan Singh offered Dr Singh and his wife a 'siropa' (a robe of honour).

Dr Singh then sat in the VIP enclosure and listened to gurubani (religious hymns) for half an hour. Amidst tight security, the prime minister took a full round of the marbled periphery and paid obeisance at various points at the temple. He later visited the nearby Durgiana temple.

SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar and SGPC Secretary Delgmegh Singh were among others who accompanied the prime minister and his wife.

Thereafter, Dr Singh and his wife were escorted to the Information Centre of the Golden Temple where the couple were presented a replica of the Golden Temple, a set of Sikh religious books and shawls by Makkar.

During tea at the Centre, Makkar discussed various issues with Dr Singh, including the plight of the Sikh and Hindu communities in Taliban-controlled Swat Valley of Pakistan.

Makkar sought adequate security for Sikh devotees going to Pakistan on the eve of Baisakhi on April 13.

He informed the prime minister that in the light of present circumstances, the security of Sikh delgation was the top priority for SGPC.

In this regard SGPC had earlier conveyed its concern to the Union government and suggested that talks be held with Pakistan. Makkar said so far the SGPC has not received any reply from the government.

Makkar also told Dr Singh that at present all Sikh shrines located in Swat valley were under the control of Taliban [Images]

He said Sikh and Hindu families were not safe in Pakistan. At present, nearly 300 Sikh and Hindu families in Pakistan have taken shelter at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib due to the increasing Taliban terror, he said, adding that adequate security should be provided to them.

On a private visit, Dr Singh had arrived in the city on Monday evening and spent time with his relatives.

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