NEW DELHI: The Kartarpur Sahib corridor to the most revered shrines of Sikhs located in Pakistan will be reopened from Wednesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on Tuesday.
The corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district.
The announcement to restart the pilgrimage that was suspended since March 2020 following the COVID-19 outbreak came three days before the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on Friday.
Shah said the decision reflects the Modi government's immense reverence for Guru Nanak Dev and the Sikh community.
"In a major decision, that will benefit large numbers of Sikh pilgrims, PM @Narendramodi govt has decided to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from tomorrow, Nov 17.
"This decision reflects the immense reverence of Modi govt towards Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and our Sikh community," Shah tweeted.
The home minister said the nation is all set to celebrate the Prakash Utsav of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji on November 19 and he was confident that this move will further "boost the joy and happiness across the country".
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi welcomed the Centre's decision and said the state cabinet will be part of the "Jatha" that will visit the shrine in Pakistan on November 18.
Besides Channi, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, former CM Amarinder Singh, BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh and Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal also hailed the Centre's move.
India signed the Kartarpur corridor agreement with Pakistan on October 24, 2019.
Under the pact, Indian pilgrims of all faiths are allowed to undertake round the year visa-free travel through the 4.5-km-long passage.
In November 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the dedicated corridor.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, the then Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Union minister Hardeep Puri were part of the first group that visited the gurudwara in Pakistan in November 2019 through the corridor.
Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and the then Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal were also part of the delegation led by Akal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh.
(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)