Radical Sikh group the Dal Khalsa is hopeful that the newly elected NDA government under Narendra Modi, after assuming charge, would take up the Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib Indo-Pak pilgrim corridor that remained on the agenda of the outgoing UPA government.
Pointing to the scheduled meeting between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on May 27 for bilateral talks, the Dal Khalsa hoped that the issue would be discussed and positive steps taken towards making it a reality. "Then, Sikhs will not need visa for paying obeisance at Kartapur Sahib," hoped Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh in a statement issued here on Sunday.
"The historic gurdwara at Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is just 4 km across the river Ravi from the Indian town of Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district. It was at Kartapur Sahib that Guru Nanak breathed his last, and Sikhs for long have been demanding free access to this important shrine and the idea of a pilgrim corridor was mooted," he said.
In a "personal welcome note" to Sharif, Dal Khalsa's senior leader Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib said the demand for Kartarpur corridor was first raised in 1998 and the current Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee, when he was external affairs minister, had visited Dera Baba Nanak and promised to take up the issue with Pakistan.
Kanwarpal also hoped that the Pakistan PM would agree to opening his country's consulate at Amritsar, "as that would be of immense help for all Punjabis as well as for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and even Himachal Pradesh, who travel all the way to Delhi for getting visas to Pakistan".