Oppn urges Punjab govt to push central govt to reopen Kartarpur Corridor

Leader of Opposition and AAP MLA from Dirba, Harpal Singh Cheema, said that the Punjab government should immediately take up the matter of re-opening of the Kartarpur Corridor with the Centre.

Cutting across party lines, leaders of various opposition parties have demanded that the Punjab government should immediately take up with Centre the issue of re-opening of the Kartarpur Corridor citing the relaxations given under Covid-19 restrictions in all other spheres of life. The ruling party in Punjab, the Congress, too has urged the Centre to accord permission to reopen the corridor.

In view of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Union government had suspended travel to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, through Kartarpur Corridor, in Pakistan in March this year.

On October 1, Pakistan government had issued a formal notification to reopen the corridor from its side. The Centre is yet to respond to this move.

Leader of Opposition and AAP MLA from Dirba, Harpal Singh Cheema, said that the Punjab government should immediately take up the matter of re-opening of the Kartarpur Corridor with the Centre.

“All other restrictions have been removed or relaxed to a great degree. The festival season is approaching and so are many religious events where the followers of Guru Nanak Dev would like to pay obeisance at the gurdwara at Kartarpur Sahib. This measure was taken for the common people and must be restored immediately. As it is not many people go there in one batch due to the various restrictions and therefore there will not be any issue of social distancing,” said Cheema.

Former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha and senior leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (Democratic), Bir Devinder Singh, said that now that Pakistan has announced the re-opening of the corridor the Union government should reciprocate the gesture and allow full access to the devotees of Guru Nanak Dev.

“The government should in fact reduce the restrictions placed on devotees to visit the gurdwara in Pakistan. The Centre should not hold the sentiments of followers of Guru Nanak Dev hostage to geo-political considerations. Now that almost all Covid restrictions have been removed or relaxed pertaining to marriages, political rallies, large gatherings etc and all other religious places are open for devotees of all religions, therefore any delay on part of the Centre or the state governments in re-opening Kartarpur Corridor will be looked at with suspicion by the devotees,” he said.

Rebel AAP MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira said that since all religious institutions across the country were open and more relaxations were being made with every passing day, there was no reason for keeping devotees away from Kartarpur Sahib.

“I have been demanding for quite some time now that Kartarpur Corridor should be re-opened immediately. However it is clear that neither does the Centre wants to re-open the corridor nor does Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. The comments of DGP Dinkar Gupta about the corridor had made it clear what he and people in the Punjab government think about it,” said Khaira. Last week, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) had organised kirtan near the India-Pakistan border in Dera Baba Nanak to pray for the reopening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.

The SAD delegation was led by Bikram Singh Majithia.

(WITH INPUTS FROM ENS CHANDIGARH)

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