Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday voiced his concerns and said that Pakistan has a hidden agenda behind the opening of the Kartarpur corridor after the neighbouring country released a video welcoming Sikh pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib featuring slain Khalistani separatists including Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
“All this is what I have been warning about since day one, that Pakistan has a hidden agenda here. Pakistan on one side is showing love but on the other side, they can try to foment trouble. We have to very careful of their intentions,” he told reporters.
The video, released by Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Monday, has posters of Bhindranwale, Major General Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh Khalsa, present in the background of the video. All the three Khalistani separatists were killed during Indian Army’s Operation Blue Star at the Golden Temple in Amritsar in June 1984.
Bhindranwale was the head of Sikh religious sect Damdami Taksal. Singh was an Indian Army general, who joined the Khalistani movement in 1984 after he was stripped of his rank and court-martialled on charges of corruption just before his retirement. Khalsa was a Khalistani student leader who headed the now-banned All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSD).
Amarinder had previously raised concerns that Pakistan could misuse the corridor to revive Sikh militancy in Punjab. Several Indian intelligence agencies and experts have also questioned Pakistan’s intentions of opening the route.
A fringe Khalistani group based in the US called ‘Sikhs for Justice’ is attempting to promote the so-called ‘Referendum 2020’ movement by using the corridor with tacit support from Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.
The video has surfaced just days before the Kartarpur Corridor is slated to be inaugurated. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor on the Indian side on November 8, his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan will open the route on the other side the following day.
India and Pakistan had, on October 24, signed an agreement on the modalities for operationalising Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, paving the way for its inauguration ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.
The corridor will facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.
The route will connect Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district with Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.