Much before the Kartarpur Sahib corridor could formally be opened for Sikh pilgrims, Khalistan separatist groups have already strategised and become active to use the route to push terrorism and separatist activities.
A US-based separatist organisation, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), has announced that it would hold "Kartarpur Sahib Convention - 2019" in Pakistan for anti-India propaganda in November 2019 during the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. SFJ, a pro-Khalistan group is running a secessionist campaign allegedly at the behest of Pakistan's intelligence agency's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), for the liberation of Punjab from India. The outfit is trying to brainwash the novice youth in its anti-India propaganda.
SFJ's legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said that the outfit would open a voter registration counter from Kartarpur Sahib on Pakistan side in November 2019 when several Sikhs from more than 30 countries will be visiting the gurdwara. SFJ through its office in Lahore plans to coordinate the registration of voters.
While the Kartarpur corridor has been a long-standing demand of Sikh pilgrims, the Indian security agencies have been apprehensive about opening the route since it would need additional monitoring of people crossing over from Pakistan side. The security agencies are also worried that this route may be used to push militants to India and revive Khalistan movement. Already, the separatist group SFJ is terming the Kartarpur corridor as a "Bridge to Khalistan".
"We will sponsor and host 10,000 Sikhs from Punjab, who will be educated and informed about their right to self-determination who will then serve as 'Referendum 2020' ambassadors in Punjab and will be equipped to propagate campaign for independence, peacefully and democratically," Pannun said. The outfit also plans to hold "study circles" to "educate and train the Sikhs for the referendum process".
Reacting on the development, former Indian ambassador to Pakistan TCA Raghavan told ANI: "Anything can be misused but this should not be a reason to not open the route. At the same time, all precautions should be taken." He emphasised that not much importance should be given to such elements (SFJ) and their programmes can never be successful.
However, former Director General of Border Security Force (BSF) SK Sood said that the opening of the route means maximum vigilance for the security agencies and the BSF has to be on a high alert constantly.
"Since it is a much shorter, one-day trip for Indians and it is also one-way traffic which means only Indians will be going to Kartarpur and no Pakistani will be allowed, so the chances of troublemakers getting inside India is less. But, there will still be`spotters' of the Pakistan intelligence agencies present there to identify and locate its possible targets. Mental indoctrination by Pakistan agencies cannot be ruled out. This can also become a place to exchange information, etc. Hence, there is no doubt that Indian agencies have to be very careful as the chances of rogue elements taking advantage are higher," underlined Sood.
Pakistan's malicious propaganda against India was widely exposed as the SFJ recently launched 'Referendum 2020' campaign at Nankana Sahib Gurudwara in Lahore.
On the occasion of 549th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev at Nankana Sahib, the outfit put hoardings and banners highlighting "Referendum 2020" for the liberation of Punjab from India. 'Referendum 2020' banners and Khalistan flags with the life-size portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were also seen put out throughout the Nankana Sahib complex.
Pakistan's secret agencies have been promoting anti-India campaigns by providing financial and logistics to pro-Khalistan terrorists. The launch of 'Referendum 2020' campaigns across the world has repeatedly exposed Islamabad's hand behind promoting secessionist and terrorism in the region. (ANI)