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Wednesday 1 April 2020

Kartarpur Corridor: Govt yields under Sikh pilgrim pressure

However, India would ask for amendment of the Kartarpur Corridor agreement with Pakistan at any time as per the situation, said the MEA

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India has agreed to let Sikh pilgrims from this country pay a fee of $ 20 each for registration at the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara. India gave up opposing the stubborn insistence of Pakistan for the fee under the domestic political compulsion of yielding to lakhs of Indian Sikhs who wish to visit the shrine of Guru Nanak.

This fee will have to be paid by the devotees only during registration. The registration for Kartarpur visit was to begin on 20 October, but due to the insistence of Pakistan, India postponed the initiation of the process.

The agreement between India and Pakistan for the Kartarpur Corridor will be signed on 24 October instead of tomorrow (23 October). India had earlier rejected the final draft agreement from Pakistan due to the $ 20 stipulation in it. Finally, respecting the sentiments of the devotees, India agreed to accept the condition of Pakistan.

Pakistan is going through an economic crisis at this time. In such a situation, it will spare no opportunity to earn money from anywhere. The fee of Rs 1,420 from every devotee from India will fetch Pakistan around Rs 21 crore every month.

Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari termed the proposed $ 20 service charge by Pakistan on every pilgrim going to Kartarpur Sahib as ‘Jizya’, echoing the sentiment of RP Singh of the BJP on 20 October, but said that this money should be paid by the Modi government. Tewari tweeted, “If Pakistan insists on USD 20 Dollar Fee for Kartarpur Pilgrims&India signs agreement on 23 rd Oct-19 then NDA/BJP Govt should undertake to pay that Jazia Tax in MOU itself. Paying to visit Kartarpur Sahib goes against (the) grain of “KHULE DARSHAN in Holy Ardas”

It is a matter of disappointment that Pakistan is insisting on levying a service fee of $ 20 per pilgrimage per pilgrim despite having agreed on a number of issues to facilitate the pilgrimage of India’s pilgrims,” ​​the Ministry of External Affairs said. The government has consistently requested Pakistan that it should not charge such a fee, respecting the wishes of the pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the agreement at any time as per the situation, said the ministry.

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