Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday protested against Pakistan’s proposal to allow only Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.
Capt pointed out that Guru Nanak Dev was a universal Guru revered by followers of all religions, especially Hindus. He urged the Indian government to take up the issue with Islamabad when the latter sends its draft agreement for regulating entry into its territory through the Kartarpur Corridor.
Captain said, while Islamabad was well within its rights to set terms and conditions relating to its territorial safety and security, it should take into consideration the fact that the first Sikh Guru’s ideology is not confined to Sikhs but is emulated by people of all faiths.
“Sikh ethos prescribes non-discrimination, with even the concept of langar being casteless service for all,” he said, adding that all Gurdwaras are open to all, without religious bias.
Many Hindus in India were ardent followers of Guru Nanak Dev, and it was their cherished dream to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, which was closely associated with the first Sikh Guru, he pointed out.
“For years the tradition of Hindu families converting their eldest sons to Sikhism has existed,” the CM said. Citing media reports on the draft agreement being prepared by the Pakistan government on entry through Kartarpur Corridor, Capt also objected to the condition of capping the number of pilgrims, proposed by them.
Daily limit opposed
“It is not correct to limit the number of people to 15 per group. Individual yatris should be permitted,” the CM said, adding that the restriction of 500 pilgrims per day should also be dropped, especially in November 2019 when the 550th birth anniversary of revered Guru Nanak Dev ji will be celebrated.
The CM urged the governments of India and Pakistan to sit across the table and thrash out all issues to facilitate smooth and hassle-free travel by pilgrims through the corridor before coming to a formal agreement in this regard.