Kartarpur Corridor to remain open despite security concerns: Amarinder

Captain Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday made it clear that regardless of security concerns, the Kartarpur Corridor willll remain open for 'Khulle Darshan Deedar of the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.

In a statement in the state Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister asserted that "we will not let the Kartarpur Corridor be closed down".

"The Kartarpur Sahib Crridor has been opened because we wanted it to be opened; every Punjabi wanted it, and had prayed for it in 'ardas' every day, along with praying for opening of Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib and other gurdwaras," he said, urging the governments of India and Pakistan to work for the opening of these gurdwaras too.

Amarinder Singh, who had requested the Speaker for permission to make his statement before the Question Hour, was responding to criticism by the Opposition on the recent remarks of the state's Director General of Police (DGP) regarding the threat potential of the Kartarpur Corridor.

Noting "with great concern the statements made by different persons and organizations on the DGP's remarks about security concerns relating to Sri Kartarpur Sahib", the Chief Minister termed the reactions totally avoidable.

"The DGP had apologized; everybody makes mistakes; even I make mistakes, we are human beings," said Amarinder Singh and asked: "Is there was anyone from the Opposition who could claim not to have made mistakes?"

"We all make mistakes, this issue is over now, let us concentrate on peace and on ensuring that the difficult times through which Punjab had been do not recur," he added.

Pointing out that 35,000 Punjabis and 1,700 policemen had lost their lives, in addition to the Army soldiers, during the years of militancy in the state, the Chief Minister said "it is our responsibility is to ensure this does not happen again".

"My government was party to the decision to open up the Corridor. The whole of my government, including ministers and officers of various departments, worked tirelessly day and night, along with the central government, to acquire the land and build the necessary infrastructure in record time, including security infrastructure, for the launch of the Sri Kartarpur Sahib corridor to coincide with the 550 years birthday celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in November 2019," said Amarinder Singh.

"Personally also, I made numerous trips to review the progress of the Sri Kartarpur Sahib corridor project, and my government even held Cabinet meetings in Gurdaspur district to review the pace of work and ensure necessary coordination between various state and central government departments and agencies."

The apprehensions of threat to the security of the people and the country were, however, "serious", the Chief Minister said, adding that these apprehensions "are not because the corridor has been opened but because of the bad intent of Pakistan.

The Chief Minister said his government had classified documents which he could not circulate in the House.

After meddling in Kashmir for long, the ISI had only one task now -- to disturb the peace of Punjab, he said, adding that Pakistan was blatantly trying to foment trouble in the state.

In the last three years, his government had succeeded in checking ISI's nefarious designs, with Punjab Police had bustng 32 modules, arresting 154 terrorists and seizing 41 AK47, MP9, MP5 rifles, 156 other rifles and pistols, 35 hand grenades, including those used in the Nirankari Bhawan attack in Amritsar.

Showing pictures of Chinese drones, Amarinder Singh said these had been seized from a man swimming through the Ravi river but there might be others that had not been caught. "Who knows what their motive is?"

"What problem ISI has with Taliban, Iran or Balochistan, we don't know. But what they have been doing in India is known to all. Earlier it was Kashmir, and now even Punjab is their target," said the Chief Minister.

Later, responding to concerns raised by Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia, Amarinder Singh said Pakistan could not be trusted, as was evident from the developments in 1947, 1965, 1971 and the Kargil War.

The Pakistan Army was highly committed against India, with Prime Minister Imran Khan being a mere puppet in their hands, he said, adding that ISI was also a part of the country's military.


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