Punjab Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta on Saturday said his remarks on the Kartarpur corridor have been “willfully misconstrued” or misunderstood, The Indian Express reported. At an event hosted by the newspaper in Panchkula city on Wednesday, Gupta had claimed that the corridor poses a “potential threat to national security”.
“Kartarpur offers a potential threat,” Gupta had said on Wednesday, adding there were reasons why the government chose not to throw open the corridor all these years. “You send somebody in the morning as an ordinary chap and by evening he comes back as trained terrorist. You are there for six hours, you can be taken to a firing range, you can be taught to make an IED [improvised explosive device].”
On Saturday, however, Gupta said he had rejoiced at the opening of the corridor. “Their [the devotees] daily ardas [prayer] for ‘khulle darshan-deedaar’ of religious shrines that remain in post-Partition Pakistan, was finally answered,” he said. “It was a matter of even greater happiness that it coincided with the 550th Prakash Purab of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.”
The Punjab police chief said that the state government and all its agencies worked very hard towards the opening of the corridor on November 9. “As the state DGP, I assure that we will continue to strive to work towards facilitating trouble-free access to the holy shrine of Sri Kartarpur Sahib,” he said.
Gupta clarified his earlier remarks, saying that as the police chief of Punjab, a border state, he faced the problem of violent extremism emanating from Pakistan. Gupta said that he had merely highlighted the potential for misuse of the corridor by elements that are hostile to India.
He said his concern was only for the security of Punjab and India and that his remarks were not directed against any religious community. However, he added that the people of Punjab have suffered a lot due to cross-border extremism in the past, and therefore the agencies must remain vigilant.
The Kartarpur Corridor connects the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Narowal district, which is believed to be the final resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev. The corridor was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian side and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan across the border on November 9.