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Canadian Defence Minister offers prayers at Golden Temple

By Ians English

Amritsar, April 20: Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan offered prayers at the holiest of Sikh shrines 'Harmandir Sahib' in Punjab on Thursday.

Sajjan arrived at the Golden Temple complex and was received by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar and other members.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley with his Canadian counterpart Harjit Singh Sajjan at South Block in New Delhi on Tuesday

The Minister offered prayers inside the sanctum and listened to hymns. He also took a 'parikrama' and sat there awhile.

The first Sikh to become the Defence Minister of a western nation, Sajjan was honoured by the SGPC at the shrine complex with a traditional honour and presented a replica of the Golden Temple and a sword.

The Minister's family hails from Bambeli village, 15 km from Hoshiarpur. His family had migrated to Canada in mid-1970s, when Sajjan was around five years old. He is likely to visit his native village and then arrive in Chandigarh.

Amarinder Singh had stirred a controversy last week when he said that he would not meet the visiting Canadian Minister due to his links to radical elements who demand for a separate Sikh state, Khalistan.

In New Delhi, Sajjan sought to play down the controversy on Tuesday saying that he did not want the break-up of any country.

The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party have welcomed Sajjan to Punjab and have condemned Amarinder Singh for his stand on the Canadian Minister.


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