Punjab min alleges of 'ignoring' Cong leader in ceremony of Kartarpur corridor
Punjab minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa Sunday reacted sharply to the official protocol for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Dera Baba Nanak - Kartarpur Sahib corridor on the Indian side, saying many of the state Congress leaders and ministers have been "ignored".
The foundation stone for the corridor to the Sikh shrine in Pakistan will be laid on the Indian side by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday.
Rural and Urban Development Minister Bajwa protested against the manner of arrangements for the function by the Centre, saying "Punjab leaders and ministers have not been given any space" in its lists of speakers and those sharing the stage.
The religious leaders have also objected to the decision to field Union Minister (and SAD MP) Harsimrat Kaur Badal to propose the vote of thanks in the function, he said, adding "the Sant Samaj has threatened to walk out if she is given this role."
He asserted this task should have been assigned to Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar, who is also the Gurdaspur MP.
He said not only the local Congress leaders, but even the ministers from Gurdaspur district have been "ignored".
"SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal too would be there along with the SGPC members and that might create security problems keeping in view of the peoples' resentment against these leaders on the issue of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib (in 2015)," he said in his statement.
The Punjab minister claimed that the Modi-government is hurrying in holding the ground-breaking ceremony.
"The Modi government is going in for laying the foundation stone, two days before Pakistan will do the ground-breaking ceremony on their side, without preparing the layout. The hurry was only to pre-empt the ground-breaking ceremony by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 28," Bajwa claimed.
He demanded that the Punjab Congress leadership and the area ministers be accorded "due space" in the function.
The Union Cabinet had Thursday cleared a proposal for building the Kartarpur corridor to provide easy passage to Sikh pilgrims to the historic gurdwara in Pakistan.
The government will build the corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur district to the International Border to facilitate Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, which is on the banks of Ravi river.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will be inaugurating the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor, on the Pakistani side on November 28.
Kartarpur is located in Shakargarh in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, had spent over 18 years of his life there.
The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located about three to four kilometres from the Indo-Pak border in Pakistan.
(With inputs from agencies.)