Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 14. With Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal renewing the demand before India and Pakistan governments, the issue of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor connecting Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur with historic Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan is back in the limelight.
The historic Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara holds great significance for Sikhs as first Sikh master Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life there. The distance between Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib is a mere 3 km and Sikhs have for long been demanding unrestricted access to the historic shrine through a visa-free corridor connecting the two places. The corridor, when constructed, would be an important channel of hassle-free pilgrimage for the devotees as compared to the long, strenuous journey through circuitous route via Wagah, Lahore and Narowal.
Most of the devotees who are unable to visit Pakistan are left with no option but to bow their head in reverence towards the shrine while standing at the “darshan sthal” (viewing facility) constructed by the BSF along the Indo-Pak border at Dera Baba Nanak from where they can catch a glimpse of the shrine. The BSF also provides them with binoculars so that they can have a clear and closer view of the shrine.
On June 28, 2008, the then Union Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee had visited Dera Baba Nanak and said a group of Indian experts would conduct feasibility study for the construction of barbed corridor, but no forward movement was made after it.
SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh said, “Now that the Chief Minister has renewed the demand, the SGPC will definitely follow it up.” The DSGMC chief, Paramjit Singh Sarna, claimed the Pakistan government was almost ready for the construction of the corridor in 2003, but the then NDA government didn’t agree to it.
Senior SAD leader Kuldeep Singh Wadala, who has also been pursuing the matter, said they have been performing ‘ardaas’ at the “darshan sthal” on a particular day every month since April 13, 2001, praying before the Almighty to facilitate the corridor for the devotees.
Significance of the corridor
- Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara holds great significance for the Sikhs as first master Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years there
- The distance between Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib is a mere 3 km and the Sikhs have been demanding unrestricted access to the shrine through a visa-free corridor
- At present, devotees have to undertake a strenuous journey through circuitous route via Wagah, Lahore and Narowal