Guru’s 550th birth anniversary

Day 2: Mere 170 devotees cross over to Pakistan

DERA BABA NANAK:A day after grand unveiling of the Kartarpur corridor, mere 170 devotees crossed over to visit the Pakistan shrine today.

Day 2: Mere 170 devotees cross over to Pakistan

Security officials near the immigration centre on the Pakistani side. AFP

harinder@tribunemail.com

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak, November 10

A day after grand unveiling of the Kartarpur corridor, mere 170 devotees crossed over to visit the Pakistan shrine today. In contrast, 10,000 devotees thronged the ‘Darshan Sthal’, a raised platform where the BSF has installed three binoculars to view the gurdwara.

The BSF had tough time managing the rush with senior officers at one point calling in reinforcement to control the surging crowds.

Edit: Channel of peace

Sources attribute poor turnout at the newly built Integrated Check Post (ICP) to passports. Pilgrims are unclear if they require passport to travel. People are also facing technical problems while applying on the portal.

The $20 fee imposed by the Pakistan government has further kept travellers away. While the two sides had agreed on making passport mandatory for travellers, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had later waived the requirement. Conflicting reports came from Pakistan when its army said carrying passport was a must. The Indian Government then decided to stick to the agreement and asked visitors to carry passport. Officials claimed during the day they were approached by numerous devotees seeking ‘ticket’ to cross over. “People think they require a $20 ticket to take the corridor route. There is lack of awareness, which is leading to confusion. Today, the BSF had tough time managing the rush of devotees who started arriving since early morning.

“We have to raise awareness that they need to apply online if they intend to cross over. We also tell them that passports are required,” said an official. Heavy rush at the ‘Darshan Sthal’ is being attributed to curiosity among people to see the newly-built ICP, which is 300 metres from the raised platform. 

Initially, the raised platform could accommodate 50 persons at one time. However, this area was reduced to less than half after the National Highways Authority of India decided to build a 100-metre bridge, which took away a major chunk of the ‘Darshan Sthal’.

The Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), responsible for constructing the ICP, had promised to rebuild the raised platform. However, this has not been done so far.

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