Kartarpur Corridor: Only 700 pilgrims cross over to Kartarpur despite fee waiver on Parkash Purb
Also, maximum number of pilgrims in a day was doubled to 10,000 on the occasion; most of devotees visiting Dera Baba Nanak confused over passport requirement, online registrationUpdated: Nov 12, 2019 23:32 IST
Only 700 pilgrims crossed over to Pakistan on Tuesday through the newly opened corridor to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur even as the neighbouring country had waived US $20 service fee and doubled the maximum number of pilgrims in a day to 10,000 on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
Officials cited the cumbersome process of online registration and the requirement of passport as two major reasons behind low footfall through the corridor that allows Indian pilgrims to have visa-free access to the Kartarpur gurdwara, where the Sikhism founder spent last 18 years of his life.
On Sunday (November 10) and Monday (November 11), as few as 250 and 122 Indian pilgrims went to Kartarpur through the corridor that was thrown open on November 9.
More than 40,000 devotees, who paid obeisance at two Dera Baba Nanak shrines (Gurdwara Chola Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib), also had a glimpse of the Kartarpur gurdwara from the ‘darshan asthan’, a raised platform near the zero line with the help of binoculars installed by the Border Security Force (BSF).
Most of them had no clarity over the requirement of documents for crossing over to Pakistan.
“This is the first time when 40,000 devotees reached here on Parkash Purab. Earlier, nearly 8,000-9,000 devotees would pay obeisance on the occasion. This happened due to the opening of the corridor,” said Dera Baba Nanak municipal council president Parmeet Singh Bedi.
“Most of the devotees were wanted to cross over with their Aadhaar cards. Many had even brought their passports along but were not aware about the online registration process. So they had to return after paying obeisance from the ‘darshan asthan’ only,” Bedi added.
MB Sabharwal, 72, a resident of Jalandhar, said “We learnt through the media that only Aadhaar card was required to go to Kartarpur. My family was not allowed by the security agencies, saying passport requirement and online registration are a must. Like me thousands of people are being harassed as they are not aware about the procedure.”
Gurmukh Singh of Fazilka said, “I along with my family members wanted to pay obeisance at Kartarpur Sahib on the auspicious occasion. But here we came to know that online registration is required. The government should make people aware about these things so that devotees are not harassed.”
Dera Baba Nanak sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Gursimran Singh Dhillon said, “We are appealing to people to apply online first.”