'Shameful', Harsimrat Kaur Badal criticises Pak over charging $20 'service fee' for Kartarpur Gurdwara visit
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Monday alleged that Kartarpur Corridor was merely a commercial venture for Pakistan and urged the neighbouring country to revisit the USD 20 service fee it will levy on pilgrims visiting the historic Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.
"Pakistan must rethink its decision to levy USD 20 fees as God not only belong to rich but also to the poor. In Indian currency it is approximately Rs 1400 and if a family of four visits there it would have to shell out close to Rs 6000. The total cost for the family, including stay, will amount to Rs 10000. A daily wage worker would not be able to afford it," said Kaur.
"You are levying a tax on faith. You are commercialising our religion. This is condemnable," she said.
"Is our religion a commercial venture for you? The opening for Kartarpur corridor will bring the message of peace and harmony but you are commercialising it," she alleged.
The union minister said that India had never levied fees on pilgrims from neighbouring countries to visit religious places including Ajmer Sharif.
"Pilgrims arrive in India each year in lakhs to visit Ajmer Sharif and other places but India never thought of levying fees of any sort," she said.
"I am happy that the agreement is being signed on October 23, just two days prior to the deadline. I wondered about the reason for the deadlock was as everything was almost finalised," she said.
India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to "reconsider" its decision to charge USD 20 as a fee from pilgrims visiting the Gurdwara. However, Pakistan has remained adamant on the issue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor, connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur with Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan on November 8.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)