First Sikh jatha crosses over to Pakistan after reopening of Kartarpur Corridor

Published on Nov 17, 2021 02:42 PM IST

On the occasion of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary, Union home minister Amit Shah had announced the reopening of the corridor after 20 months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Members of the first jatha of Sikh pilgrims arriving in Pakistan through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor being welcomed with a ‘siropa (robe of honour)’ en route Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
Members of the first jatha of Sikh pilgrims arriving in Pakistan through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor being welcomed with a ‘siropa (robe of honour)’ en route Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
ByAnil Sharma

The first jatha (group) of pilgrims reached the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan after the reopening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on Wednesday.

Also read: Sikh jatha leaves for Pakistan to celebrate Guru Nanak’s Prakash Purb

On the occasion of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev’s Prakash Purb (birth anniversary) on November 19, Union home minister Amit Shah had on Tuesday announced the Narendra Modi-led BJP government’s decision to reopen the visa-free 4.7-km corridor that connects Dera Baba Nanak Sahib gurdwara on the Indian side with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of the first Sikh Guru, now in Pakistan. The corridor was shut last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first jatha, comprising 50 members, including the Panj Pyare (five beloved), crossed over to Pakistan at 11am. The corridor was reopened after 20 months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) and Border Security Force (BSF) officials honoured the members of the jatha with a siropa (robe of honour) and sweets at the Dera Baba Nanak ICP. “A list of 50 members was approved by the Centre for Wednesday’s visit. The group comprises VIPs and the panj pyaras. Another group that will be led by chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi will visit Kartarpur Sahib via the corridor on Thursday,” said a senior Customs official at the integrated checkpost (ICP) at Dera Baba Nanak.

Online registration for visitors resumes

He said the registration process for visiting Kartarpur Sahib has also been started. “Those who are getting themselves registered through the online portal will be able to cross over to Pakistan after 10 days,” he said.

The first group of pilgrims was accorded a warm welcome upon crossing the zero line by Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Ameer Singh and Pakistan chief executive officer of the project management unit Muhammad Latif.

‘Our prayers have been heard’

The first group included Neelam Grewal, the vice-chancellor of Guru Kashi University at Talwandi Sabo. She said she received a phone call on Tuesday and filled the form to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

Ameer Singh said it was good that the corridor had finally been opened. “Our prayers have been heard,” he said.

The reopening of the corridor coincides with the 552nd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The corridor was inaugurated on November 9, 2019, on the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikhism founder.

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