Did Modi commit a big mistake by green-lighting Kartarpur's inauguration?
Days before the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor, which connects two shrines in India and Pakistan, Islamabad released a video aimed at welcoming the pilgrims. But the video has stoked controversy as it featured three slain Khalistani leaders, including Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who revolted against India in the 1980s. One wonders if opening the Kartarpur Corridor was a thought through decision by the Modi government.
The Corridor will make Kartarpur Gurudwara accessible to Sikhs
India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads for months now, but after a series of bilateral talks, they came on the same page, agreeing to open the Corridor which will give Indians access to Kartarpur Gurudwara where Guru Nanak Dev spent his last years. But considering Pakistan's notorious past, intelligence agencies opined it might use the opportunity to fan separatist sentiments in Punjab.
Separatists who were killed in Operation Bluestar featured in video
So, when Bhindranwale, Maj Gen Shabeg Singh, and Amrik Singh Khalsa found a place in Pakistan's video, the agencies stood vindicated. While Bhindranwale led the Sikh militancy in the 80s, Singh joined the movement after being stripped from Army over corruption charges. Khalsa was a student leader. All three separatist leaders were killed in 1984 Operation Bluestar when Indian Army stormed the Golden Temple.
Sidhu, Harsimrat Kaur Badal were also seen in the clip
The clip released by Pakistan's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also featured Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Congress' Navjot Singh Sidhu. It began with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, where he spoke about religious harmony. Several Sikh pilgrims were also seen in the clip, with one woman saying dozens of pilgrims wanted to visit the shrine.
You can watch the video here
Told you so, said Captain on Bhindranwale's presence in clip
The video evoked a sharp reaction from Punjab's Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who told ANI, "All this is what I have been warning about since day one, that Pakistan has a hidden agenda here." Last year, just after Pakistan had revealed its plans about Kartarpur, Captain had said everyone should be "wary" as it would attempt to revive militancy.
Pakistan charging money from pilgrims should worry us
Like Captain pointed out, New Delhi should be cautious when dealing with Pakistan, especially since it didn't do away with the fee levied on pilgrims. Islamabad will charge $20 from devotees for visiting the Gurudwara. As it's allowing 5,000 pilgrims daily, Pakistan will earn $100,000/day, and approximately $36 million every year. So, devotees are actually filling the coffers of cash-strapped Pakistan.
Unknowingly, India could have agreed to "fund" Pakistan's terrorism
Pakistan had said it would spend this money on "maintaining" the corridor, but considering that it's merely 4 kilometers long, the site wouldn't need much work after all. In the garb of "maintenance", Pakistan could utilize the money to support terrorism. The fact that intel agencies said terror camps exist in the very district which houses Kartarpur Gurudwara should concern Indian authorities. Modi ji?