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Can India and Pakistan swap lands to fulfill religious aspirations of Sikhs?

Yudhvir Rana TOI

May 19th, 2012

 

 

AMRITSAR: Can India and Pakistan swap lands to fulfill religious aspirations of Sikhs? Strange it may sound, that too after nearly 65 years of partition but the Member Parliament from Gurdaspur Partap Singh Bajwa has floated the idea of swapping uninhabited land across river Ravi in Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib situated in Narowal district of Pakistan.

"This seems to be the only plausible solution enabling Sikh devotees to pay hassle free obeisance at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib which is part of daily prayer of Sikhs" said Bajwa while talking to TOI on Friday.

Bajwa said he had discussed his proposal with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "We can propose to Pakistan that if it is willing to handover India the area where Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Sahib is located, then we will be glad to swap with Pakistan the equivalent potion of uninhibited land which is available across river Ravi in Gurdaspur district."

And it is not something new, said he while adding that post partition, when the land on which the famous National Martyrs Memorial where Shaheed -e- Azam Bhagat Singh and others were cremated went to Pakistan, India swapped 12 villages near Sulemanki Headworks, Fazilka for getting back this land.

Both India and Pakistan governments reached an agreement to build the corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Sahib , about 4 kilometer distance, some time in 1998 in order to enable the Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan without visa or passport but there has been no progress on this issue by either side. Various organizations had been taking up the issue of construction of corridor, a few have also prepared the corridor feasibility report.

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee is constructing a Kartarpur Sahib Gate while a Congress MLA from Dera Baba Nanak have also begun the construction of a Gate.Sikh devotees often gather near border fence and offer prayers while looking at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. Border Security Force has specially constructed 'Darshan Sthal' by providing binoculars to the visiting devotees for a clear view of the Gurdwara.

 

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