Canadian PM to visit Golden Temple Wednesday


Amritsar : Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will arrive in this Punjab city Wednesday and visit the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines.

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Harper will arrive here by a special flight at Amritsar’s Rajasansi airport and drive straight to the shrine around noon. He will be received at the airport by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal and accompanied to the shrine complex.

Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) President Avtar Singh Makkar said that Harper is scheduled to be in the shrine for about one hour. After paying obeisance at Harmandar Sahib, the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine, he will be shown the shrine complex.

He will also visit the ‘Langar’ (community kitchen) hall where hundreds of devotees partake traditional food after praying at the shrine.

“All arrangements have been made for the PM’s visit here,” an official of the Canadian high commission in India said here.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Punjab Police and central forces have worked out security arrangements for Harper’s visit. Nearly 40 RCMP officials are camping here.

Harper will be accompanied by a delegation of Canadian officials, members of the Canadian parliament and other leaders during the visit.

Harper will fly back to New Delhi after 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Canada is home to a big population of immigrants from Punjab. A number of immigrants from here now hold top political and administrative positions in Canada.

Canada has several ‘gurdwaras’ (Sikh shrines) and Punjabi is officially recognised as a language in some provinces of Canada.