The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently said that it had decided to resume operations on the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from November 17, keeping in view the improved Covid-19 situation but there is still no clarity on the protocol to allow entry of the devotees.
According to the Indian Express report, it is mandatory to register online before visiting but no application process took place till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), government officials are planning to visit the gurudwara that was closed in March 2020 in light of the Covid-19 pandemic as a part of a special arrangement. The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev.
SGPC spokesman informed IE that members and politicians who want to pay visit were asked for their passports but so far the protocol is not clear as Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (PSGPC) said that their Indian counterpart should make all the arrangements from the special jatha.
According to Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ishfaq, the list of devotees in the first jatha comprises of 30 to 200 people. As soon as the list is cleared by India and then by Pakistan, arrangements will start. Officials of the Land Port Authority of India and Border Security Force also discussed the arrangements ahead of the reopening.
BSF and Pakistan Rangers are coordinating between each other and apart from the existing protocol between the two countries, Covid-19 guidelines will be followed as well.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for giving a nod to the re-opening of the Kartarpur corridor ahead of Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary and called it a joyous occasion for Punjab and Sikh brethren.
As the corridor was closed for four and a half months, devotes had no other option but to pay obeisance to Gurudwara Kartarour Sahib from zero line but due to fog during winter, devotes could not get a proper view of the gurudwara building located 5 km inside Pakistan border. The reopening brings a sign of relief for devotees who have a passport.
SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur too will celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November 19 at Kartarpur corridor. Kaur informed that he will lead a special jatha and the cost will be taken care of by the central government. The PSGPSC President Ameer Singh and former president Bishan Singh are also awaiting the jatha and have expressed their joy in this regard, he said.
Meanwhile, PSGPC President Ameer Singh informed that Pakistan has opened the corridor in June 2021. Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), who manages holy places of minorities in communities in Pakistan and Dal Khalsa also expressed delight at the decision of reopening the corridor.
Pilgrims crossing the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor will have to follow Covid protocols like temperature checks and sanitization, wearing face masks and observing social distancing etc. Carrying Covid-19 vaccination certificates and negative RT-PCR report, not older than 72 hours prior to arrival is mandatory to the gurudwara that sees heavy footfall on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.