Akal Takht calls for limiting use of firecrackers on Diwali

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Amritsar, Oct 12 (UNI) Expressing concern over the alarming increase in pollution around the Golden Temple on Diwali, Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh has urged the public to shun the use of firecrackers that cause high levels of air and noise pollution.

"I urge them to light earthen lamps, candles or bulbs and opt for sparkles and low intensity crackers", the Jathedar of the highest temporal seat of Sikhism said today.

"Diwali is a festival that is dear to all, even to the Sikhs and the celebrations at the Golden Temple have always been a special attraction", he said while refusing to give his opinion on whether a ban on use of fire crackers should be imposed around the Golden Temple.

The Jathedar was of the view that alongwith low intensity firecrackers, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandik Committee (SGPC) could even organise a laser show on Diwali at the Golden Temple.

"Pollution harms all living things so it must be checked", he added.

Since the sixth Guru, Hargobind's time, Sikhs have been thronging the Golden Temple to celebrate Diwali, as it was on this day that the Guru reached the shrine after his release from a fort at Gwalior alongwith 52 'rajas' by the then Moghul emperor, Jehangir.

The Golden Temple, famed for its fabulous display of fireworks during the Diwali celebrations, shares the dubious distinction of being the most polluted area in the entire Punjab during the festive season.

The festival of Diwali is celebrated in Amritsar with such fanfare and gusto that it not only has given birth to the popular oft-quoted local saying, ''Daal roti apne ghar ki, Diwali Amritsar ki' (Nothing can beat the food at home and the Diwali at Amritsar).

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