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US Embassy denies visa to Bibi Jagir Kaur

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US Embassy denies visa to Bibi Jagir Kaur

Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21

The US embassy today denied visa to Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, for visiting America, initiating fresh debate in Panthic circles. This is for the first time any SGPC chief, has been denied visa.

Earlier, court of Additional Sessions Judge S. P. Bangarh, Patiala, had dismissed the application of the SGPC chief, refusing her permission to travel to the USA for attending bhog ceremony of Harbhajan Singh Khalsa on October 23. However, Mr Justice S.K. Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Thursday allowed the petition filed by SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur permitting her to visit the USA. Bibi Jagir Kaur had moved the high court seeking quashing of the September 1 order of the Special Judge (CBI), Patiala, by which he had dismissed her plea allowing her to go to the USA.

In his order Mr Justice Mittal had allowed Bibi Jagir Kaur to undertake the tour after depositing personal surety bond for Rs 10 lakh. She was, however, directed to return on or before September 30 and join court proceedings fixed for October 1. In her petition, the SGPC chief had stated that she wanted to go to the USA to visit top universities there to evolve a pattern of the proposed Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University at Fatehgarh Sahib.

The SGPC chief went to the US embassy for an interview, but senior officials there refused to give the visa without assigning any reason. However, Bibi Jagir Kaur said that she was hopeful of getting visa tomorrow as it was only a five-day trip to the country. Talking to The Tribune, she said denial of visa to the SGPC chief would send a wrong signal to the Sikh community.

In the Patiala court, public prosecutors S. K. Saxena and V. K. Handa from the CBI had expressed apprehensions that the SGPC chief was accused of being the main conspirator in heinous crime involving the murder of her daughter Harpreet. They had stated that in case she did not return from abroad, the entire case would be thrown into disarray, as initiating repatriation proceedings would be very time consuming process.

It was asserted that Bibi Jagir Kaur’s presence was needed in the court. The prosecutors pointed out that earlier too the court had rejected a similar application proffered by her, in which she had wanted to go to the USA to take part in a function to mark the death anniversary of her husband, Baba Prem Singh. On the other hand, Bibi’s counsel had claimed that she had been invited to the USA not only by the family of Harbhajan Singh Khalsa but also the ‘sadh sangat’ in that country, apart from the Chairman of the National Minorities Commission. He asserted there was no question of her not returning.

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