Chandigarh, November 2
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has forwarded Navjot Singh Sidhu’s letter, requesting permission to visit Pakistan for the Kartarpur Corridor inauguration, to the Chief Secretary for necessary action.
This was disclosed here on Saturday by an official spokesperson, who said the Chief Minister had received Sidhu’s letter this morning and immediately sent it to the state Chief Secretary.
The Chief Minister himself later told some mediapersons in an informal chat that, along with all other MLAs, Sidhu had also been invited to join the all-party Jatha going from Punjab to Kartarpur Sahib via the Corridor on November 9. The DCs had contacted the MLAs in their respective districts, and the Amritsar DC had been pursuing the matter with Sidhu’s office, but the latter had failed to respond, said Captain Amarinder.
Captain Amarinder lamented the politicisation of the Kartarpur Corridor, in violation of the ideology of the great founder of Sikhism, Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, whose 550th birth anniversary the world is celebrating this year. India should have stood as one, especially considering the deeper agenda which seemed to be behind the Pak decision to open the Corridor and also to set up a university in the name of the 1st Sikh Guru, but instead the whole issue had been politicised for vested interests, he said. The Chief Minister reiterated his stance that politics should have been put aside and the mega event should have been left to be organised by the state government, as per past practice on such occasions.
He, along with the rest of the Sikhs, was extremely happy at the thought of visiting Sri Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, which had always been part of their `ardas’, said the Chief Minister. However, he made it clear that he still had his suspicions about Pakistan’s intent and believed the Corridor opening to be an ISI operation, aimed at wooing the Sikh community for the Referendum 2020, being promoted under the guise of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) forum, he added.
“We have to be on our toes,” said the Chief Minister, warning India against taking Pakistan at its face value, especially in view of the heightened ISI activity being noted in Punjab in recent months.
Earlier, during a Curtain Raiser session of Hoshiarpur Writers’ Festival via video conferencing from Chandigarh, after his chopper was denied permission to fly due to bad weather, Captain Amarinder described Referendum 2020 as ISI’s attempt to divide the Sikh community by inciting their passions for narrow political objectives.
During the session, hosted by noted TV journalist and host Vir Sanghvi, the Chief Minister reiterated his demand for waiver of $20 fee on Kartarpur Corridor travel for all Indian pilgrims and not just Sikhs, in line with the Guru Sahib’s philosophy of universal brotherhood and amity.
With reference to his biography `Captain Amarinder Singh, The People’s Maharaja’, the Chief Minister, in response to a question, agreed that militarily, the Blue Star operation could have been handled better. Terming the period as a most horrific time in the history of the state, the Chief Minister said there was utter confusion even amongst the officers supposed to be handling the operations. Crediting his military experience with preparing him for tough political and personal battles, Captain Amarinder Singh said the qualities he imbued from his Army service had always stood him in good stead. Asked to divulge the secret of thwarting the strong Modi wave, first in 2017 and again in the recent by-elections, Captain Amarinder said performance was the mantra for earning the confidence and trust of the people. On the occasion, the Punjabi version of Captain Amarinder Singh’s biography The People’s Maharaja was also released.