On Tuesday, the Centre announced that the Kartatpur Sahib Gurdwara corridor would be reopened from Wednesday, before Gurupurab which is on 19th November, the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. The decision was taken to resume the movement of devotees past the corridor leading to the Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal, Pakistan “reflects the immense reverence of the Modi government towards Shri Guru Nanak Dev-Ji and our Sikh community,” tweeted by the home minister Amit Shah while the decision was being announced.
The corridor was closed in March 2020 almost four months after its inauguration, due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The latest decision came after the requests of the BJP leaders from Punjab who recently met Modi to urge him to reopen the corridor. Even the Pakistan government last week had requested India to permit the devotees to visit the gurdwara ahead of the celebration of Prakash Utsav.
The decision came from the Centre that can be seen to convey many fronts with a state where the election is coming up in Punjab and also the Prime Minister’s repeated gestures to show his respect for the Sikh faith mainly in the wake of the nervous situation of farmer’s unions, from Punjab, Haryana and also west UP, against the agri-reforms that is legislated by the Centre.
Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted that, “The nation is all set to celebrate the Prakash Utsav of Shri Guru Nanak Dev-ji on November 19 and I am sure that Narendra Modi government’s decision to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib corridor will further boost the joy and happiness across the country.”
Even before the pandemic, there had been few concerns over the efforts made by Pakistan agencies to make use of the pilgrimage that is used to make anti-India propaganda and look to “recruit” few impressionable pilgrims.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Chennai expressed his gratitude to PM Modi and Home minister Shah on Tuesday who has claimed that he personally took up the issue with the central government. “This is a joyous occasion for the entire Punjabi community in general and Sikh brethren in particular,” he said. Channi, on 18th November, has claimed to pay obeisance with his entire cabinet at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
Other several politicians from Punjab had also urged the government on Twitter to reopen the corridor before Gurupurab. Some notable politicians include former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Kartarpur corridor which is also known as the “peace corridor” between India and Pakistan had witnessed almost around 45,000 pilgrims travel between November 2019 and February 2020 through it. The corridor also permits Sikh pilgrims to travel totally visa-free to the gurudwara via the Attari-Wagah border.