New Delhi, June 6, (………………………………) Today a Sikh organization named 'Sangat Langha Kartarpur (SLK)' from Amritsar handed over a memo to the Resident Coordinator's office in India addressed to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary- General United Nations. These Sikhs are seeking UN intervention in the case of Corridor to Kartarpur.
After memo delivery they held a protest at Jantar Mantar. B.S.Goraya the leader of group explained that Kartarpur sahib where Guru Nanak the founder of faith passed away in 1539 AD is in Pakistan and is very close to Indian border and clearly visible from Indian side. Goraya said that the pilgrims have to take a to-and-fro circuitous route of 400 kms. whereas the shrine is only 4 kms from border. He said that the Sikhs are demanding a passport/visa free corridor to Kartarpur from April 13, 2001.
Goraya said that Punjab Legislative Assembly Chandigarh has passed a resolution on Oct. 1, 2010 in support of Corridor demand asking the Central Govt to take up the visa issue with Pakistan. Pakistan Govt has also agreed to grant the Corridor. The protestors were in anger that the Indian Govt is not taking any action on the Corridor demand. They said it was shameful that their own country is not allowing pilgrimage. They said it violates human rights and international conventions from one country to another on pilgrimages. The Sikhs cited many examples where the countries facilitate pilgrimages.
-The SLK alleged that the Central Govt was a rabid communalist. They said only a week ago hon'ble President of India visited China and sought facilities for pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarovar Temple in China. They said it was good that the Govts give subsidy to the tune of Rs. 50,000 per head to the Hindu pilgrims visiting Kailash Temple. Goraya said, "We don't want any subsidy but at least allow us to visit our Kailash or Mecca which is only 4 kms."
B.S.Goraya alleged that it was a clear case of discrimination on the grounds of religion.
The memo to United Nation relates how the Sikhs have been cooperating with the Indian Govt when the Govt sought minimum pilgrimages to Pakistan on security reasons. The memo explains how Exchange of Population in 1947 was an accident which no Govt or leader had foreseen. Memo says the Sikhs would have never accepted such a freedom which meant separation from their holy shrines. Memo claims that about 60% of the holy shrines of Sikhs are in Pakistan. Nankana sahib where Guru Nanak was born is in Pakistan. Memo says that no other religion is separated from its shrines like the Sikhs are.
It asks, how would you feel if a Hindu was separated from his Ganga, his Yamuna, Kashi, Hardwar, Prayag, Mathura, Tirupati, Puri etc. It is alleged in the Memo that the Hindu leaders can't imagine the extent of agony of the Sikhs. It said Pakistan realizes it that is why they have accepted the Kartarpur Corridor proposal. Today Muslim of Pakistan long for a visit to Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid Delhi, Ajmer Sharief, Nizzamuddin, Hajrat Bal, Lal Qila etc.
SLK has asked United Nations to persuade India and Pakistan to abolish the visa system for mutual citizens visiting each country like 30 countries of the Europe have done.
B.S.Goraya said his group and that of Jathedar Kuldip Singh Wadala do prayers twice a month at the border since April 2001 for opening of Corridor. Prominent among those who participated in protest were Baba Kuldip Singh Ball, Jeet Singh Indore, Vikram Singh Delhi, Director Bakhshish Singh Chandigarh, Bhajan Singh Chheharta, Kuldip Singh Sultanwind, Harbhajan Singh New Partap Nagar, Sukhjinder Singh Chhana Barnala, Tarsem Singh Bal and Balwinder Singh Bal.
Note:- At about 3pm on 6-1-16 the photos of the event will be posted on website www.kartarpur.com please click PRESS. The copy of Memo is also available on the same page please.
(Bhabishan Singh Goraya)
PRESS NOTE IN HINDI
नई दिल्ली, 6 जून (------- ----) आज अमृतसर पंजाब से सिक्खों का एक जथ्था 'संगत लांघा करतारपुर' के बेनर के नीचे यहां आया जिन्होंने पहले संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासंघ के नाम एक ज्ञापन संघ के स्थानीय कार्यालय को सौंपा। उसके बाद उन्होंने जन्तर-मन्तर पर रोष प्रदर्शन किया कि सिक्खों को पाकिस्तान स्थित इन के इतिहासिक गुरुद्वारों की यात्रा के लिए जाने नही दिया जाता। हैरानी की बात है कि इन्होंने भारत सरकार को ही दोषी ठहराया कि सिक्खों की यात्रा में सब से बड़ी रूकावट सरकार ही है। यह लोग पाकिस्तान स्थित गुरुद्वारे करतारपुर के लिए लांघा (सीदा रास्ता) मांग रहे है।
यह लोग पाकिस्तान स्थित गुरुद्वारा करतारपुर की तस्वीर गले में डाले हुए थे। इनका कहना है कि करतारपुर जहां गुरु नानक स्वर्ग सिधारे थे वो बिल्कुल सरहद के पास ही पाकिस्तान में है। यह कह रहे थे कि 4 किलो मीटर दूर करतारपुर के लिए इन्हें 400 किलोमीटर घूमकर आना-जाना पड़ता है। इनके नेता बी.एस. गुराया ने बताया कि वह पिछले 16 सालों से करतारपुर के लिए हर महीने दो बार सरहद पर प्रार्थना करते है कि सरकार बिना पास्पोट र्बिना वीजे के लांघा (सीधा रास्ता, गलियारा या कोरीडोर) मंजूर करें। पाकिस्तान जिस के क्षेत्र में संगतों ने जाना है लांघा (कोरीडोर) देने के लिए मान गया ह परन्तु भारत ने चुप्पी साधी हुई है।
इनका कहना है कि 2008 में संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघ के राजदूत (भूतपूर्व) जान मैकडोनलड भी लांघे की तजवीज का मौके पर जायजा लेने आए थे। गुराया ने कहा है कि उस वक्त राजदूत ने कहा था कि अगर लांघा (कोरीडोर) खुल्ल जाता है तो सिक्खों की मांग पूरी होने के साथ-साथ दोनो देशों में शांति भी हो जाएगी। महां सचिव को भेजे गए ज्ञापन मे लिखा है कि राजदूत के दौरे के एक सप्ताह पश्चात् ही माननीय श्री प्रनाब मुखर्जी ने भी तजवीजत गलियारे का मौका देकर देखा था और कहा था कि लांघा के लिए वो पाकिस्तान से बात करेंगे।
ज्ञापन के अनुसार 1.10.2010 को पंजाब विधान सभा में सर्वसम्मति से लांघा (कोरीडोर) के लिए मुख्य मंत्री प्रकाश सिंह बादल का मता भी पास किया गया था और केंद्र को आग्रह किया था कि तुरन्त पाकिस्तान से लांघा (कोरीडोर) खुलवाने के लिए बात चलाई जाए।
उपरन्त भारत सरकार ने करतारपुर लांघा (कोरीडोर) के मसलों पर चुप्पी साधी हुई है।कई बार संसद में भी इस संबंध में स्वाल किए गए परन्तु सरकार इस में गोल-मोल जवाब देकर मस्ले को टालती आई है।
ज्ञापन में आरोप लगाया गया है कि भारत सरकार की नीति संप्रदायिक है और धर्मर्निपक्ष सविधान के साथ मज़ाक है। ज्ञापन में कहा गया है कि सरहद के साथ स्टे हुए करतारपुर साहिब पर तो सिक्खों को जाने नहीं दिया जाता परन्तु वहीं सरकार चीन स्थित कैलाश मानसरोवर मंदिर की यात्रा की अनुमति चीन सरकार से मांगती है।ज्ञापन में पूछा है कि क्या चीन हमारा मित्र देश है जिस ने भारत की लाखों ऐकड़ भूमि हथिया ली है?
ज्ञापन में सराहना की गई है कि कैसे सरकारें कैलाश मंदिर यात्रा के लिए प्रति यात्री 50,000 रूपये तक नकद सबसिडी सहायता देती है। सिक्खों ने कहा है कि हमें बेशक सबसिडी मत दो कम-से-कम हमें अपने बिछुड़ चुके गुरुधामों के दर्शन तो करने दो।
ज्ञापन में उदाहरणें दे-दे कर कहा गया है कि दूसरे के मज़हब की मानयताओं का आदर करने से कौमों के बीच आपसी प्यार और समाज में शांति बढ़ती है।ज्ञापन में आरोप लगाया है कि भारत सरकार गैर हिन्दू लोगों की मानयताओं की प्रवाह नहीं करती। महां सचिव को कहा गया है कि वो मध्ययस्थता करके भारत और पाकिस्तान के बीच धार्मिक यात्रियों के लिए वीजे की शर्त खत्म करवाए। जैसे युरोप के 30 मुल्कों में हुई है। क्योंकि यहां तो यह बात ओर भी जरुरी और प्रासंगिक है कि 1947 में कोई एक करोड़ लोगों ने दोनों मुल्कों के बीच पलायन किया था और पीछे अपने धार्मिक, सांस्कृतिक, जनजातिए और इतिहासिक स्थान छोड़ गए थे।
ज्ञापन में कहा गया है कि आज सिक्ख ननकाने के लिए आंसू बहाते है जो पाकिस्तान में रह गया है। सिक्खों के कोई 60% इतिहासिक गुरुद्वारे पाकिस्तान में है। दुनियां में ऐसा कोई धर्म नहीं जिसके लोगों को उनके धार्मिक अस्थानों से ऐसे बिछोड़ा गया है जैसे सिक्खों को अपने 300 गुरुद्वारों से अलग कर दिया गया है।ज्ञापन में कहा गया है कि आज पाकिस्तान के लोग भी ताजमहल, आगरा, अजमेर शरीफ, निजामुदीन, लालकिला, हजरत बल, जामा मसजिद दिल्ली आदि के दर्ज़नो लिए तरस रहे है। ज्ञापन में कहा गया है कि पंजाब के हर दूसरे, चौथे गांव में मुस्लमानों की कोई न कोई पवित्र जगह है जिस से पाकिस्थान मुस्लमानों को अलग कर दिया गया है।ज्ञापन में आरोप है कि भारत सरकार लोगों की ऐसी धारणाओं की कद्र नहीं करती क्योंकि इसे नहीं पता कि मां गंगा से बिछुडने का क्या मतलब होता है। हिन्दू लोग यमुना, कांशी, प्रयाग, तिरुपति, उजैनी, जगननाथपुरी से बिछुड़ने की परिस्थिति की कल्पना करेंगे तो सिक्खों के दुःख का अहसास होगा।
ज्ञापन में कहा गया है कि सिक्ख भारत सरकार को मनाने के मसले पर हारे हुए और असहाय महसूस कर रहे है। आरोप लगाया गया है कि भारत सरकार सिक्खों की भावनाओं की जरा-सी भी प्रवाह नहीं करती। ज्ञापन में पूछा गया है कि आखिर भारत सरकार को करतारपुर का लांघा (कोरीडोर) स्वीकार करने में दिक्कत क्या है?ज्ञापन में कहा गया है कि 1947 में भारत-पाकिस्तान की आज़ादी के अवसर पर किसी ने नहीं सोचा था कि बंटवारे के साथ-साथ लोगों का पलायन भी होगा। अगर ऐसा पता होता तो सिक्ख ऐसी आज़ादी को हरगिज़ स्वीकार नहीं करते।
ज्ञापन में संयुक्तराष्ट्र महां सचिव को गुजारिश की गई है कि वह करतारपुर के लांघे (कोरीडोर) के मसले पर भारत को समझाए-बुझाए। उमीद जाहिर की गई है कि भारत के मौजूदा माननीय प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरिन्दर मोदी रुढ़िवादी नीति त्याग सकते है, अगर उन को किसी कार्य में लोगों की भलाई दिखती है तो।
जथ्थे के लीडर बी.एस. गुराया के इलावा बाबा कुलदीप सिंह बल, जीत सिंह इंदौर, विक्रम सिंह दिल्ली, भजन सिंह छेहरटा, कुलदीप सिंह अमृतसर, हरभजन तरसेम सिंह बल, डायरेक्टर बख्शीश सिंह, बलविंदर सिंह बल, सुखजिंदर सिंह बरनाला और अनेक सिक्ख हाज़िर थे। जथेदारों ने बताया कि वो हर दूसरे-तीसरे महीने यहा जन्तर-मन्तर पर आकर रोष प्रकट किया करेंगे जब तक सरकार करतारपुर लांघा (कोरीडोर) मंजूर नहीं करती।
नोट-मूल ज्ञापन (In English) वैबसाईट पर डाल दिया गया है। कृपा www.kartarpur.com पर जाकर PRESS कल्कि करें।
इवैंट की तस्वीरें भी 3 बजे के बाद वैब साईट पर डाल दी जाएगी।
भबीशन सिंह गुराया
Dated June 6, 2016
Hon'ble Mr. Ban Ki-moon
(Through: UN Resident Coordinator, UNITED NATIONS , New Delhi India – 110003)
Sub: The Mecca of Sikhs (Kartarpur) in Pakistan only 4 kms. from Indian border. To visit it Sikhs have to travel 400 kms. Host country ready to give direct Corridor. Indian Punjab Legislative Assembly passed a resolution requesting the Indian Central Govt to approve the Corridor Plan. India silent. It is 15 years now. International peace makers believe the Corridor has a peace potential as well.
When India was getting freedom from English rule, the British Govt considered three successor parties to whom the power was to be transferred, namely the Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs. The Sikhs were a small minority but held balance of power in the province of Punjab. Both Muslim and Hindus thus tried to woo Sikhs. However the Hindu promises appeared giving more rosy future if the Sikhs aligned with them. Public statements of Hindu leaders like J.L.Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi are a testimony to it. We Sikhs therefore decided to align with Hindus.
Unfortunately communal riots broke out after the land was bifurcated resulting into large scale migration and massacre of population. A total of 10 million people had to migrate and more than one million people massacred. The Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan territory migrated to India while the Muslims in Indian Punjab fled to Pakistan. Unfortunately no one had foreseen that such a tragedy will come with freedom. No politician neither the Govt thought that freedom will be coupled with exchange of population.
Thus the Sikhs were uprooted from their holy land in this mishap. Nankana sahib where the founder of Sikhism was born became foreign to them and so the Kartarpur sahib where he passed away in 1539 AD. In fact 60% of the holy shrines of the Founder Father were left in Pakistan.
Sikh leaders were shocked at the situation that had emerged. Years after the things settled, the Sikhs led by Master Tara Singh approached Indian Prime Minister Mr. Nehru apprising him of the new situation where Sikhs had been departed from their holy shrines. Pundit Nehru expressed sympathy and promised all help from the Indian Govt for unrestricted pilgrimages of Sikhs to their shrines in Pakistan.
Subsequently India and Pakistan fought two major wars in 1965 and 1971 and all these years the Hindu leaders have been asking the Sikhs to cooperate with India and as for as possible avoid pilgrimage to Pakistan. The Sikhs cooperated here too. At times the Indian Govt will altogether stop allowing jathas the groups of pilgrims to Pakistan citing tension between the two countries.
On one side India was asking Sikhs to avoid pilgrimage to Pakistan while on the other hand (for example when in 1999 AD Kargil Battle between India and Pakistan was going on) India Govt was conducting Amarnath pilgrimage yatra under the shadow of bayonets. Right in those days our Home Minister Mr. L.K.Advani was making humble appeals to the Chinese Govt to allow pilgrim groups to Kailash Mansarovar temple in Tibet Himalayas. This despite the fact that India considered China as enemy country who was encroaching on land which India said was its legitimate territory.
It was only then we Sikhs realized that the Indian Govt was not fair, honest and sympathetic towards Sikhs pilgrimage to shrines in Pakistan and that its agenda differed from one religion to other. Thus the writer of these lines and Jathedar Kuldip Singh Wadala on April 13, 2001 started a campaign to seek a direct passage to Kartarpur sahib where founder of Sikhism Baba Guru Nanak passed away on Sept. 22, 1539 AD.
Kartarpur is only 4 kms from the India-Pakistan border and is clearly visible from Indian side. At present a pilgrim from Dera Baba Nanak (a town in India, opposite to Kartarpur) has to travel to and fro distance of 416 kms. (Wagah to Lahore to Narang Mandi to Narowal and Kartarpur-131 kms. + Dera Baba Nanak to Amritsar to Atari to Wagah=77kms. Total 208 plus the return 208 km = 416 kms.)
Kartarpur is supposed to be Mecca of Sikhs because this is the only place where Guru Nanak stayed for about 18 years otherwise he was always on move visiting far flung places like Rome, Baghdad, Basra, Sri Lanka, Burmah, Tibet China. It was here that Guru demonstrated his theory into practice. From here he gave a loud message of universality that entire mankind is one. He denounced human divisions on the lines of caste, race and religions. Not only there are monuments existing till date that show Guru respected all faiths. It was here he started Langar the free kitchen where all people could dine together irrespective of their social division. It was a revolutionary step as Indian society had hard rules where people of different castes and religions can't eat together. Guru thus challenged the Indian caste system which considered some people as low and others high. Here he made Lehna as his successor and passed away.
After we started the campaign for direct passage the Pakistan Govt was prompt to react favourably and announced that it was willing to grant corridor to Sikh devotees where there would be no condition of visa. It said the 4 kms. long corridor will be fenced on both sides and a that the pilgrim will have to return the same day within a few hours. For evidence please see: http://www.kartarpur.com/search/label/2.%20PAKISTAN%20OFFERS%20CORRIDOR
The positive reaction of Pakistan Govt was perhaps understandable because Pakistani citizens have also been deprived of their holy places in India. Millions of migrants who fled to Pakistan are now feeling the pain of being departed from their ancestral, cultural, religious and historical places. Pakistanis are mad to see their Taj Mahal, Ajmer Sharief, Roza Sarhind, Lal Quila Delhi, Nizzamuddin Aulia. In fact every second third village in Punjab has a tomb of some or the other peer they worshipped before Partition.
The Indian Govt didn't react to the Pakistan offer neither it acknowledged. We felt that perhaps the Hindu rulers don't understand the agony of Sikhs. In fact they are not sensitive enough to even imagine a situation where Hindus are departed from their holy Ganges, Yamuna, their Haridwar, Kashi, Prayag, their Ujjaini, Tirupati, Jaganath Puri, their Mathura etc.
While our campaign for free corridor without passport or visa was going on an international peace maker ex-Ambassador to United Nations Mr. John Mcdonald noticed it and personally visited the corridor site on June 20, 2008 and declared that if allowed the Kartarpur Corridor will usher into a new phase of peace between India and Pakistan. For us it was a new dimension of the movement that it has peace bearing as well.
A week later, on June 28, 2008 the hon'ble Sh. Pranab Mukherjee now President of India, then as Foreign Minister followed Mr. McDonald's visit to the Corridor site. The newspapers of the following day reported as under:
"The Minister (Mr. Mukherjee) said he was well aware of the fact that great sanctity was attached to Kartarpur Sahib and lakhs of Sikhs wanted to visit it to pay obeisance. He said he would hold talks over the issue with his Pakistani counterpart."
"Thanking Mukherjee, Badal (P.S.Badal the Chief Minister of Punjab) said, “With the green light from the Union minister, the proposed corridor now seems to be a reality.”"
"He said the corridor would be an important channel of hassle-free pilgrimage as compared to the long, strenuous journey via Wagha, Lahore and Narowal. The corridor, Badal said, would help foster better relations between the two countries in the long run and would give a further push to the ongoing confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan."
In the Indian Punjab Legislative Assembly Badal the CM himself moved a resolution on 1-10-2010 asking the Indian Central Govt to approve the Corridor to Kartarpur. The resolution was unanimously passed by the Assembly i.e the Congress and BJP also voted in its favour.
The Indian Central Govt again maintained its silence on the resolution instead of taking up the issue with Pakistan Govt.
However some anti-Pakistan Indian politicians started saying that security of India will be jeopardized if the Corridor was opened and that already a lot of drugs were being smuggled into India from Pakistan. We explained that the drugs were being smuggled during night in connivance with the Indian border police and that prevalent corruption in Govt departments was responsible for it. As far as security was concerned we humbly reminded the politicians that it was the Indian citizens who will be visiting Pakistan territory not that the Pakistanis will come to our side. And that we will allow visitor after duly verifying ones identity. Thus became silent, whatever little opposition to Corridor plan was.
All these years we continued doing prayers on the border, printing and circulating tons of literature on the Sikh shrines issue. Always giving hope to the Sikh masses that Govt of India was positively considering Kartarpur Corridor issue. Because we still hoped that the Indian democracy will at least respect resolution of elected legislature. Our hope became strong with the change of guard at Delhi two years ago.
As we are passing through a crucial phase because the people who were 20 years of age at 1947 have now turned almost 90 and thus only a few are surviving who remember their old holy places and erstwhile homes they left in 1947. If they are not allowed to travel, a connection with the paste the old places cultural and religious places will be lost forever. For example Sikhs and Hindus left their minor tribal and cultural places in the villages streets which only they remember and value while the others don't. For example a Muslim who migrated to a village in Pakistan hardly knows about a Sikh Samadhi or tomb in the village. If the old migrant is allowed to visit his old place he will pass on the heritage knowledge to his successors.
Yes here the Govt did respond. It gave a concession that it will not be necessary for the aged people to travel by train only. They can use road transport but didn't change the hard and tough pilgrimage policy. The result being no senior citizen went on pilgrimage to Pakistan. We are thus loosing a great heritage of ours. Presently many of our historical holy shrines in Pakistan have caved in and in few cases even disappeared as if nothing existed there.
We learn that about 30 civilised countries of Europe have abolished the need of Visa for visit of their respective citizens. We hope India and Pakistan are now no longer living in past i.e 1947 and are headed by civilized governments. We feel if there is a real need to abolish the visa system it is here after all one crore (10 million) of citizens migrated in 1947 from India to Pakistan and vice versa.
But alas all our appeals are falling on insensitive ears.
On various occasions our representatives raised this Corridor i.e free passage issue in the Indian Parliament but every time the Govt's response was cold and evasive. Please see:- http://www.kartarpur.com/search/label/3.INDIAN%20REACTION
We are pained to comment that with the long experience of campaign of 15 years we have learnt the Indian Govts be it of Congress Party or BJP value and respect only the feelings of majority community. Here vote is important not the ideal governance. No Govt thinks about the minorities much less microscopic community like the Sikhs who are merely 1% of the population.
Recently our President Sh. Pranab Mukherjee visited China and pleaded for enhancement of number of groups that can visit the holy Hindu shrine in China; Kailash Temple. Not only this, back home some state Govts raised cash subsidy to Hindu pilgrims visiting China to Rs. 50,000 (US Dollars 760) per head, that too to, travel to the country (China) which India considers its enemy. This despite the fact that Kailash Temple was never in history in Indian territory. The Govt can sanction hundred of millions of rupees on Hindu festivals the Kumb Melas. We welcome such an approach but the Govt should be sensitive enough to the minimum feelings of the minority like the Sikhs.
The civilized nations do respect peoples' faith whether it agrees with them or not. It is for this reason: Saudi Arabia allows pilgrims even from its sworn enemy countries to perform Hajj and there could be thousands of such examples all over the world. Even the Govt of India itself allows nacked sadhus the hermits to attend Kumb melas despite opposition from certain quarters. Naturally when we respect feelings of others we give a message of peace, of our large heartedness and peaceful coexistence. We remember having seen a mosque right in between the railway tracks at New Delhi station. Our erstwhile rulers the English railway officers knew that railway track can take a turn not the feelings of people. If we respect it there starts a traffic of love on both sides.
It is really with a heavy heart we are writing to a third party like you. We are admitting our failure. We confess to our people that we gave them false hopes that India is going to approve Corridor proposal where as the fact was it was not even considering it. Respected sir, we are simple people and obviously not conversant with the procedure and way of working with United Nations. We understand that United Nations have such wings like IOM and UNESCO which deal with situations like ours i.e arising out of migrations and which concerns threat to the culture of nations. We request you to kindly get something done through these organs. We are hopeful a simple appeal from your good self to the Indian and Pakistan authorities will prick their conscience. We know there are saner elements there too but may be our presentation of our case has been in wrong manner. The present Prime Minister of India sh. Narendra Modi is a brave leader and has courage to take decisions bye- passing the orthodox school.
Please ask the Indian Govt to show large heartedness soothe microscopic –minority-Sikh-heart and approve the Kartarpur Corridor and allow more Sikh Jathas to Pakistan to visit their holy places.