Kartarpur corridor is 'not a difficult thing' to handle: BSF
The BSF on Friday said the proposed Kartarpur corridor between India and Pakistan was "not a difficult" thing for it to manage as it has been doing a similar task along the Attari-Wagah border front in Punjab for ages.
Border Security Force (BSF) chief Rajni Kant Mishra was asked by the reporters if the force had any security "concerns" including revival of Khalistani militancy once this border front is opened for the public?
"We have been doing this task on a large scale along the Attari-Wagah border crossing in Punjab for ages. This (Kartarpur corridor) is not a difficult thing to handle," the DG said while interacting with reporters before the 54th raising day of the force Saturday.
The BSF provides an armed security cover to the Attari-Wagah front and it is responsible for allowing entry and exit of people on either side with assistance of the Customs authorities and local administration.
A senior official later told PTI that the border guarding force is mulling to deploy a fresh battalion (about 1,000 personnel) in the area to manage the activities of the corridor and it will also require some smart surveillance and defence gadgetry to be deployed there.
It would be like the Attari-Wagah thing. "We have deployed a strong team of the force there to keep an eye on activities of the people crossing-over and those present on the other side," the official said.
The same thing will be done for the Kartarpur corridor and "we will seek the manpower and other sanctions from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in due course," the official added.
The foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor was laid at Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur district by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Singh on Monday.
On Wednesday, the foundation stone for the corridor was laid on the other side of the border by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in a grand ceremony that was attended by Indian minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Puri.
The corridor, once operational, will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev- with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak.
The corridor is expected to be completed within six months.
Thousands of Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan every year to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
Talking about the issue of Rohingya migrants that the BSF handled along the eastern borders with Bangladesh over the last year, Mishra said it was not a "big issue" now.
"We intercepted 54 Rohingyas at the border who were coming in towards India and also caught 176 who were going out of the country, in the last one year," he said.
Not much development is being witnessed on this subject now, the DG added.
Asked about instances of cattle smuggling along the India-Bangladesh border, the DG said the force has seized an estimated 58,000 cattle and cows this year and 49 jawans have suffered injuries while preventing this illegal act.
The BSF was raised on December 1, 1965 and it is primarily tasked to guard the Indian borders with Pakistan (2,290-kms) and Bangladesh (4,096-kms) apart from rendering a variety of roles in the internal security domain.
(With inputs from agencies.)