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Centre expresses concern over security of first 'jatha' of pilgrims going to Kartarpur on November 9

Government sources told Zee Media that India has categorically asked Pakistan to provide the highest level of security to the visiting VVIPs as the threat of anti-India activities by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) and other Pakistan-based terror groups is a matter of concern for India.

Centre expresses concern over security of first 'jatha' of pilgrims going to Kartarpur on November 9
File photo

External Affairs Ministry on Wednesday expressed concern over the security of dignitaries who are part of first 'jatha' of pilgrims going to Pakistan as part of inauguration ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor on November 9. It is to be noted that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Union Minister Harsimrat Badal and Hardeep Puri and 150 parliamentarians are part of first 'jatha' of pilgrims.

Government sources told Zee Media that India has categorically asked Pakistan to provide the highest level of security to the visiting VVIPs as the threat of anti-India activities by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) and other Pakistan-based terror groups is a matter of concern for India.

Sources said that Indian government has informed Pakistan about the threats to life of VVIPs by terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups, including some Khalistani organizations. Sources claimed that Pakistan wants to use Kartarpur Corridor to promote terrorism in India and the whole idea to allow Indians to visit Kartarpur Gurudwara is the brainchild of Pakistan Army.

The Indian government has already given a list of 550 pilgrims who will be the part of first 'jatha' to Kartarpur on November 9. It is to be noted that Pakistan has said that Indian pilgrims will not need a passport to visit Kartarpur and India has sought an explanation from Islamabad over this decision. Notably, Pakistan had said in the agreement that pilgrims will need a passport to visit Kartarpur. Sources said that the government has also informed the Pakistan government about the anti-India activities being carried out at some gurudwaras in Pakistan.

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Meanwhile, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been invited by Pakistan to attend the inauguration ceremony as a special invitee of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, will be allowed to visit Kartarpur only if he agrees to go there with the first 'jatha' of pilgrims. Sources said that the Centre would not allow Sidhu to visit Kartarpur if he decides to go alone.

Earlier on Wednesday, hoardings hailing Sidhu and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan surfaced in Amritsar describing them as 'heroes' who played a crucial role in the opening of Kartarpur Corridor. The text on the posters featuring Sidhu and Khan is in Punjabi, and translates to, "Navjot Singh Sidhu and Imran Khan are the real heroes for opening Kartarpur Corridor."

The Kartarpur Gurdwara is located in Pakistan`s Punjab province and it is believed to have been built on the site where Guru Nanak died in the 16th century.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, and dispatch the first lot of pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.