CHANDIGARH: At least 100 Sikh pilgrims among 815 who went to Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi have tested positive on their return on Thursday.
The Sikh devotees had gone to Lahore’s Gurdwara Panja Sahib on the last day of Baisakhi. Besides visiting Gurdwara Panja Sahib at Hasan Abdal on April 14, they visited Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur on April 19 and other places.
Sources said that pilgrims underwent the mandatory Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) soon after they reached the Joint Check Post situated on Attar-Wagah border.
There were reports that many of these pilgrims will be asked to undergo the more dependable RT-PCR test.
“Initially, only those who tested negative were allowed to leave for home while others who tested positive are under observation,’’ said an official.
There were also some unruly scenes as some of the pilgrims confronted health staff after their reports came positive, snatching official records, tearing the test reports.
They claimed that their reports were negative when they left for Pakistan.
“The devotees were asked to quarantine themselves at their homes as at present, there is no special institution is operational at the government level to quarantine such patients,’’ an official said.
Later, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Bibi Jagir Kaur said that those Sikh pilgrims needing hospitalisation one will be treated free of cost at an SGPC-run hospital.
The SGPC had sponsored the pilgrimage. Under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of pilgrims from India are allowed to visit the neighbouring country to attend religious festivals every year.
Despite the pendemic causing havoc, many went over this year.