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When Capt Amarinder directed removal of controversial Kartarpur corridor foundation stone

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, December 2: By the time Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded his speech after ground breaking ceremony of Kartarpur Sahib corridor, the person who had sky-rocketed to stratosphere was former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu. He was the top trending leader when he crossed the Radcliffe line at Attari-Wagha border back to India.

However, there is another aspect of this entire narrative that has unfolded now and that relates to the controversy that marred the function to lay foundation stone of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor at Dera baba Nanak on November 26, just 48 hours before Imran Khan was to perform ground breaking ceremony on the other side of the border at Kartarpur Sahib.

It was late in the evening hours that information reached Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh that the foundation stone that was to be unveiled carried the names of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and  his son and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, besides union minister and Badal-bahu Harsimrat Kaur Badal. A livid Captain Amarinder Singh conveyed to cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa to remove the stone, it is learnt. Randhawa is MLA from Dera Baba Nanak.

Yet another instruction was  that Sukhbir should not be seated on the stage. However, it was union transport minister Nitin Gadkari who facilitated his presence on the stage.

Sidhu had marked his presence early that morning at the point on the border at Dera Baba Nanak from where Kartarpur Sahib is visible. He was on election campaign duty. He was to be the star at Kartarpur Sahib two days later.

However, within less than 48 hours, this local bodies minister in Indian Punjab and hero of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, especially among the Sikhs all over the world, landed himself in uncalled for and self-created controversy. He ridiculed  Amarinder that  could be interpreted only in one way-questioning his authority and leadership. That was at a news conference while campaigning for the Congress in Telangana. It was his same style that of his laughter show that was all the more questionable as it was demeaning.

An angry rural and urban development minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa lashed out at him saying he should apologise to Capt Amarinder Singh. This triggered chain reaction among his cabinet colleagues  with more and more Congress leaders training guns at Sidhu.

Sidhu had successfully weathered all attacks including that of being in league with the Khalistanis and agent of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI. It was through Sidhu at the inauguration of Imran Khan that he was conveyed by Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa that the Kartarpur Sahib corridor would finally be a reality shortly. Pakistan was to make the announcement at birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev at Nankana Sahib, the place where he was born. It may be mentioned that the Sikhs from all over the globe travel to Nankana Sahib on this occasion every year.

Even Akalis joined those who targeted Sidhu, without realising that they were damaging the Sikh cause in the process. But then the very same leaders tried to take credit for the realisation of his cherished dream of the Sikhs.

Partition in 1947 was more than partition of the land between India and Pakistan. It was the division of what at one time used to be known as the Land of the Sikhs going by the record. Sikh religion was born in what is now Pakistan. The place of birth of Baba  Nanak  Dev and the last resting place where he passed away are both in Pakistan.

Sikhs have been regularly praying for the last about two decades for open access to kartarpur Sahib mainly because of its proximity. Sidhu became a medium for the acceptance of this demand by Pakistan as the corridor is mainly in that country, although the demand is as old as the partition itself.

It is to be seen as to how he controls the self-inflicted damage in the other space.


Jagtar Singh


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