AMRITSAR SAHIB, Punjab—In the wake of the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the of founder of Sikhism, to be celebrated in 2019, the SGPC President Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar has appealed the union government of India to initiate dialogues with its Pakistani counterparts, seeking the opening of a corridor to Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib for Sikh devotees.
Badungar said that the move will also help in defusing tension between the two countries and improve their ties.
“Lakhs of devotees visiting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine feel dejected that they have to pay obeisance from a distance,” he added.
Prof. Badungar further said that no time could be more favorable than the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
“If not on a permanent basis, the two counties could sign a temporary pact for the historic year,” said the SGPC President, adding that Sikh devotees and scholars not only from India, but also from abroad were expected to visit the state to commemorate the event.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is in Kartarpur, in Narowal District, Pakistan, 120 km from Lahore. It is built on the historic site where Guru Nanak Dev Ji settled and assembled a Sikh community after his missionary travels. The present Gurdwara is built at the site where Guru Nanak is popularly understood to have ascended, on 22 September 1539.
As the shrine lies only 3 kilometres from the Indian border, Pakistan had previously agreed to allow Sikh pilgrims from India to visit the shrine visa-free, in the year 2000, by constructing a bridge from the border to the shrine.
In May 2017, Indian parliamentary standing committee members announced that no such corridor would be established, given the poor state of India-Pakistan relations. Instead, the government of India may install four binoculars to view the site.