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American-Sikhs urge Pakistan not to make any changes at Kartarpur complex

The appeal by the American Sikh Council (ASC) and the Sikh in America (SIA) after both Pakistani and Indian govts agreed to open up Kartarpur Corridor for Sikhs to visit the birthplace of Guru Nanak

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur

Sikh groups in America have appealed to the not to make any structural changes at the Kartarpur Sahib Complex (KSC), according to a media report on Tuesday.

The appeal by the American Sikh Council (ASC) and the Sikh in America (SIA) after both Pakistani and Indian governments agreed to open up for Sikhs to visit the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev.

In November, Indian Cabinet approves the from Dera Baba Nanak to the border and on November 26 Vice President Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of the Dera Baba Nanak - Kartarpur Sahib Corridor (up to the International Border) at an event at Mann village of Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

After the Indian side, Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone on November 28 for the corridor to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.

Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522.

"Any structural changes and/or additions to accommodate upcoming huge visitors either coming from India, Pakistan or Sikh diaspora living across globe by lodging to restrooms and more must be done at a distance, away from the main KSC so that the Kartarpur Sahib original farms, natural areas spread around 100 acres of land that belonged to Guru Sahibji, and the forest areas around the River Ravi can retain as much of its originality as possible. This needs to be preserved in its original landscape for posterity," a message on the ASC's website said.

Pakistani government might change the original archeological and cultural structure and lawns of the complex, Dr Gurdas Singh, ASC president, and Gurinder Pal Singh, SIA president, were quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

Singh said they feared that in the name of development sometimes original and historical architecture were not being taken care of by contractors.

"Such efforts must be and should be kept at bay without compromising original structure spread across 100 acres," he explained.

He said the Auqaf Department and the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandak Committee must understand the legitimate concerns of the Sikh diaspora.

He said Sikhs everywhere yearned to visit the Kartarpur Sahibje and see the fields that their wondrous 'Guru' tilled with his own hands, the place where he lived, the trees he sat under and feel and touch their forehead on the same dusty soil that their Guru' walked on!

A group of young American Sikhs started a Facebook page to monitor and report on the developments of the and to make concerned voices heard in regards to the development, Gurdas said.

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 15:01 IST