Canadian premier shows why he’s ‘Justin Singh’
Unfazed by Modi’s unconcern…
Amritsar, Feb 21: Seemingly unmindful of Modi-led government’s half-hearted response to his visit, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau today visited Amritsar enthralling the locals in a big way.
It may be recalled here that Justin Trudeau’s visit, was in a way, downplayed by the Union Government but his Punjab connection undoubtedly made it a memorable one.
If Justin Trudeau is sometimes also referred to as ‘Justin Singh’ – it is not without a reason.
The Canadian Prime Minister, who has more Sikhs in cabinet than his Indian counterpart, Narindra Modi, today showed how close he is with the Sikh community when upon arriving in the holy city he straight away drove to the Golden Temple.
Attired in an embroidered cream-coloured Kurta-Pajama with a saffron ‘Patka’ on head, and accompanied by wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in lime-green Kameez-Palazzo, and two (of his three) children – Ella Grace and Xavier – in Punjabi ethnic wear, the premier was received by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, and Navjot Singh Sidhu, State Minister for Tourism, at the Amritsar airport, from where he was taken to the Golden Temple.
Trudeau was received at the Golden Temple by former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal and taken around the ‘Parikarma’ or the circumbulation of the holy shrine by the office-bearers of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandak Committee (SGPC) including president Gobind Singh Longowal.
The visiting premier prayed at the sanctum sanctorum of the temple during an almost hour-long visit to the shrine.
Trudeau and his family also tried rolling out ‘rotis’ at the Guru Ram Das Jee Langar hall, where devotees do voluntary kitchen work for feeding visitors.
They greeted devotees with folded hands while scores of visitors could be seen holding up their mobile phones to take pictures and videos of the Trudeaus.
A thick security blanket was in place in and around the Golden Temple with SGPC Task Force making a human chain to keep pilgrims at bay in the Golden Temple premises.
Trudeau was presented a specially crafted 24-carat gold-plated portrait of the shrine and a gold-plated ‘Siri Sahib’ (a small six-inch sword) along with a ‘Siropa’ (robe of honour) by the SGPC .
In the visitor’s book, Justin Trudeau wrote- “What an honour to be so well received at such a beautiful, meaningful place. We are filled with grace humility!”
- Rashmi Talwar is Kashmir Images Correspondent in Amritsar and can be reached at [email protected]