The Sikh community in Kashmir has warmly welcomed the decision of India and Pakistan governments to open Kartarpur corridor.
The planned corridor will connect Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev’s final resting place in Pakistan’s Kartarpur to the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district in India, fulfilling a long-pending demand of the Sikh community.
The Sikhs in Kashmir have hailed the two governments for taking a decision to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
President Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Budgam, Santpal Singh on behalf of Sikh community of Kashmir thanked Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan for opening this road.
“The religious and spiritual significance of the holy place can be gauged from the fact that authorities have installed binoculars at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side as a large number of devotees gather there just to get the glimpse of the holy shrine located at the distance of 4 km into the Pakistan territory,” he said.
“Almost all religions have their most sacred places where they wish to visit at least once in a lifetime. We the Sikhs have been demanding opening of Kartarpur corridor from decades. We don’t find words to express our delight and satisfaction over this positive development,” he added.
Inderjeet Singh, senior executive member Parbandhak Committee Budgam said the community had been praying for opening of this corridor.
“Our long pending demand and a dream has come true,” he added.
The corridor links Indian border city Dera Baba Nanak to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu performed the groundbreaking Monday on his side of the corridor at a ceremony just two kilometers from the Pakistani border.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the groundbreaking of the four kilometer-long Kartarpur Corridor from his side on Wednesday.
All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) also welcomed the opening up of Kartarpur corridor and said that the step would help a lot in normalizing the strained relations between India and Pakistan.
APSCC Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said that people of Kashmir especially the members of Sikh community are quite ecstatic over the development.
He said the move would help the Sikhs of India to move towards the different religious places located in Pakistan.
“It is quite heartwarming that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan proposed the opening of Kartarpur corridor and the same was reciprocated with warm gesture by the Government of India. This shows that both the countries are quite serious in fostering good relations with each other,” Raina added.
Raina said that all the faiths and religions in the world convey the message of peace and bonhomie and if a religion binds people of two countries then it is very heart touching. He said relations between India and Pakistan can be brought to normal level if the premiers of two countries listen to the message of peace and brotherhood in right earnest.
“It is important that Government of India reciprocates the goodwill gesture of Pakistan and opens up places of religious importance so that they are visited by people of that country and other countries as well. This would help normalise the strained relations between the two neighbouring countries,” he added.
He said that Sikhs of India especially those living in Jammu & Kashmir are quite happy over the opening of Kartarpur corridor.
He said members of the community are eagerly waiting to visit places of religious importance located on the other side of the border.
Welcomes Imran Khan’s offer
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti Thursday welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer on opening several shrines, including Sharada Peeth, to devotees from India, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi should consider the offer.
“Great initiative of offering peace through these channels. PM @narendramodi ji should consider the offer by PakPM (Pakistan Prime Minister) @ImranKhanPTI for opening of SharadaPeeth in Kashmir, Katasraj & other shrines too this will certainly bridge the gap & usher peace in region,” Mehbooba said in a tweet.
Her tweet came in response to Khan’s interaction with Indian journalists, in which he reportedly said, “We can consider other proposals including opening up travel for the Sharada Peeth in Kashmir, Katasraj and other Hindu shrines too.