India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over its refusal to grant visa to 87 Indian pilgrims who wanted to visit the neighbouring country to observe the death anniversary of fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev, official sources said.
According to Sikhism, the event is also called Shahdi Jor Mela or Shaheedi Purab of Guru Arjan Dev Ji.
The pilgrims, who were denied visa, were part of the official jatha (group), the sources said, adding that restrictive visa was granted to a private group of Indian pilgrims.
The Ministry of External Affairs has registered its strong protest at Pakistan government's refusal to grant visa for official jatha comprising 87 pilgrims on the occasion of Shahidi Jor Mela - Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji's Martyrdom Day on June 7, the sources said.
The pilgrims visit Gurdwara Dera Sahib on the occasion.
The visa for the pilgrims were sought under a 1974 bilateral protocol on visit to religious shrines.
"The Ministry expressed its concern at the disregard shown by the High Commission of Pakistan on the religious sentiments and devotion of the Indian pilgrims especially by Pakistan unilaterally granting restrictive visa (by rail only) to a private group of Indian pilgrims," said a source.
The MEA called upon Pakistan to immediately grant visa without any restriction, they said.