India

Kartarpur corridor a security challenge says punjab dgp

Kartarpur corridor a security challenge says punjab dgp
Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta in Panchkula Friday. (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)

Raising questions over Pakistan’s intent in agreeing to throw open the Kartarpur Corridor, Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta on Friday said the visa-free passage cleared for Sikh pilgrims was “a huge security challenge from a terrorism point of view”.

Claiming that there were reasons why the corridor was not opened sKartarpur, Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan, Panchkula, Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta, Punjab DGP, Indian Expresso far, Gupta said some elements based in the neighbouring country were “trying to woo pilgrims and making overtures”.

“Kartarpur offers a potential that you send somebody in the morning as an ordinary chap and by evening he comes back a trained terrorist. You are there for six hours, you can be taken to a firing range, you can be taught to make an IED,” Gupta said.

He was speaking at The Indian Express Idea Exchange in Panchkula.

The Corridor, connecting Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, was thrown open on November 9, three days ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikhism founder.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Indian portion of the corridor while his counterpart Imran Khan inaugurated the part on Pakistan’s side.

“It is a huge concern… that is why it was not opened for all these years. I was in Intelligence Bureau for eight years… The feeling was that it (the corridor) will be a huge security challenge. But after that, as the community wanted it, the diaspora wanted it, it was decided why can’t this dream be realised. So all those security concerns were put on the backburner,” the DGP said.

Gupta said that he was in Delhi last week for a brainstorming session.

“They (Pakistan based agencies) have already tried to find potential (people for radicalisation). People who are going there, they are trying to woo them, making overtures. We are also concerned about the phones, which are going there. Earlier, the traffic to Pakistan was only a few jathas at Baisakhi and gurpurab. (Now) the footfall, the numbers are huge. This is huge potential. So, it is a security challenge,” Gupta added replying to a query on whether Pakistan’s offer to do away with passport combined with Referendum 2020 posed a security challenge.