The Indian government on Tuesday said it was re-opening the Kartarpur corridor that connects Sikh shrines in India and Pakistan. Pakistan and India had closed the corridor in March 2020 to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday decided to meet the demands of thousands of Sikh pilgrims in the neighboring country and agreed to reopen the Kartarpur Corridor. A formal notification in this regard is also likely to be issued later, a central leader of the Shiromani Committee of India told the Express Tribune.
Pakistan authorities had already announced their decision to reopen the corridor earlier this month. The country is likely to allow around 8,000 Sikh pilgrims from around the world to participate in the birthday celebration. However, the Sikh community in India was awaiting New Delhi’s decision. Two days ago, the head of the Shiromani Committee, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had also written a letter to PM Modi in this regard.
Following Pakistan’s and the community’s demand to reopen the corridor, India will open registrations for the pilgrims tomorrow (Nov 17) and the first set of around 250 Sikh pilgrims are said to arrive through the passage on November 19. Meanwhile, around 3,000 Sikh pilgrims from India are set to arrive in Pakistan via the Wagah border on November 17.
The authorities took the decision to reopen the peace corridor amid the 552nd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Sikhism’s central figure that falls on November 19 this year. Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the Kartarpur Sahib corridor will be reopened on Wednesday as decided by the Narendra Modi government. The visa-free 4.7-km corridor connects the Indian border to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
Shah said the decision would benefit a large number of Sikh pilgrims and reflected the reverence of the Modi government towards Guru Nanak and the community.
“In a major decision, that will benefit large numbers of Sikh pilgrims, PM @Narendramodi govt has decided to re-open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from tomorrow, Nov 17,” Shah wrote. “This decision reflects the immense reverence of Modi govt towards Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and our Sikh community,” he added.
Shah said the government’s decision to reopen the corridor will further boost the joy and happiness across the country. “The nation is all set to celebrate the Prakash Utsav of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji on 19th of November and I am sure that PM @NarendraModi govt’s decision to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib corridor will further boost the joy and happiness across the country.”
In a major decision, that will benefit large numbers of Sikh pilgrims, PM @Narendramodi govt has decided to re-open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from tomorrow, Nov 17.
This decision reflects the immense reverence of Modi govt towards Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and our Sikh community.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 16, 2021