Kartarpur Sahib: From Corridor to Peace to Terror Corridor
Chandigarh, December 3: The way a section of the media is projecting the Kartarpur Sahib corridor as Pakistan sponsored corridor to terror is shocking. Several news channels continue with this intensification of terrorism narrative.
This 4-km corridor to provide free access from Dera Baba Nanak in India to Kartarour Sahib across the border has been decades old demand of the Sikhs for which a sustained campaign had been going on over the last about 20 years. This venomous propaganda can put the Sikhs in the same situation that they had to face during militancy. The problem is that of perception.
It may be recalled that a section of the media had been used by the Indian state to slam even Akalis as ‘terrorists’ before and after Operation Bluestar, code name for army attack on the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar in June, 1984. The Sikhs had become suspects and faced humiliation beginning with the nightmarish treatment in Haryana during 1982 Asiad. The campaign portraying Kartarpur Sahib corridor as terror corridor is in the same tone and tenor. This section of the media needs to introspect.
Here is the intro to an article by Seshadari Chari on a news portal dated November 30:
“The dispensation in Islamabad, obsessed with terror, sponsored by none other than its all-powerful army, has acquired yet another corridor – Kartarpur – to perpetuate another round of terrorism on India, especially in the border state of Punjab. Trust Pakistan to lay a minefield and ambush New Delhi with ever-new shenanigans.”
This is simply explosive.
Of course, earlier the same portal carried an article on November 23 that referred to its real spirit. This write-up by Shivam Vij stated:
“There can’t be a better metaphor for India-Pakistan peace than the Kartarpur corridor. It is an act of faith by both countries, bowing to centuries of faith over a few decades of conflict, respecting religious rights over the sanctity of borders.
Guru Nanak spent his life preaching collective respect for humanity over caste and religion divide. If Guru Nanak was alive today, he would have added India-Pakistan peace as one of his causes. Crossing an international border without visa or passport, Sikh pilgrims will help create a symbolic outpost for India-Pakistan peace. The corridor will show that it is possible to respect each other and still be different countries, put behind the history of Partition without agreeing with each other’s version of it. It will show people in India how Pakistan is willing to respect other faiths despite being an Islamic republic.”
This lethal propaganda overlooks the comments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the process was finally set in motion to lay foundation stone of the corridor saying if Berlin Wall can fall, there is no reason why bitterness in this region can’t end. He was positive.
However, all hell broke out as Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee general secretary Gopal Singh Cahwla was spotted among the dignitaries who attended the ground breaking ceremony by Prime Minister Imran Khan at Kartarpur Sahib. Even Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal went to the extent of saying that it was Chawla who had supplied hand grenade that was lobbed at the Nirankari Bhavan near Rajasansi in Amritsar district recently in which three persons were killed. He was attacking Punjab minister and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu who was photographed with Chawla. Chawla later released his pictures with Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Gobind Singh Longowal too.
The Sikhs never projected this corridor as peace corridor. It is to connect two shrines associated with Guru Nanak divided by the Radcliffe line. That this corridor has the potential to open door to peace is without any doubt. Those attacking it as corridor to terror should know the porous border in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan does not need a corridor to send across heroin to Indian Punjab. Before the border was fenced, one could just cross over as fields used to be cultivated on both sides right upto zero line, at least in Punjabs.
Going by this propaganda in the media, fault lines continue to exist in Punjab.
Cordial relations between the two neighbours can lead to opening up of border to trade. In case the volume of trade from Attari-Wagha border increases, it could directly impact Mumbai and Karachi ports in the two countries. One has to study timing of terrorist actions. These actions scuttled increased people-to-people interaction that could have eased tension and facilitated increased volume of trade activities. Some forces perhaps don’t want it.