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India protests as Pakistan stops Sikh pilgrims from meeting diplomats

IANS  |  New Delhi 

has protested to after it prevented a group of pilgrims from meeting the Indian diplomatic staff, the said on Sunday.

"has lodged a strong protest with over a block of access for visiting pilgrims to Indian diplomats and consular teams," the Ministry said in a statement.

It said around 1,800 pilgrims have been travelling to from April 12 under a bilateral agreement on facilitating visits to religious shrines.

"A standard practice has been that the Indian High Commission's consular/protocol team is attached with visiting pilgrims, to perform consular and protocol duties, like helping out in medical or family emergencies," the statement said.

"However, this year, the consular team has been denied access to Indian pilgrims. The team could not meet the pilgrims on their arrival at Wagah railway station on April 12."

According to the statement, the Indian consular team was also denied entry into Gurdwara Panja Sahib on Saturday for a scheduled meeting with the pilgrims there.

"The High Commission was thus prevented from performing basic consular and protocol duties for Indian citizens," it stated.

On Saturday, Indian to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria, who was to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib at the invitation of the of the (ETPB), was told to return while en route to the shrine for unspecified "security" reasons.

"The High Commissioner, who was to greet Indian pilgrims on the occasion of Baisakhi, was thus compelled to return without meeting Indian citizens," the statement said.

"has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan against this inexplicable diplomatic discourtesy, pointing out that these incidents constitute a clear violation of the Vienna Convention of 1961, the to visit Religious Shrines, 1974 and the Code of Conduct (for the treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel in India and Pakistan) of 1992, recently reaffirmed by both countries."

Last month, told the media here that the in Pakistan was facing "a litany of issues" which have not been resolved for several months.

His comments came after Pakistan called back its to India, Sohail Mahmood, for consultations after allegations of harassment of Pakistani diplomats in India.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, April 15 2018. 15:58 IST