New Delhi: India on Wednesday took note of the photographs of Khalistani Separatist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in an official video on the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor, said sources in the government. New Delhi has raised objections to the video through diplomatic channels, news agency quoted the sources as saying.
The video released by Pakistan to mark the inauguration event featured a poster of three Khalistani separatists, including Bhindranwale, with “Khalistan 2020” written over it.
Released by Pakistan'’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the four-minute video shows a clip of Sikh pilgrims visiting a gurdwara in Pakistan while a poster of Bhindranwale, Major General Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh Khalsa is visible in the backdrop.
While Bhindranwale was the head of Sikh religious sect Damdami Taksal, Major General Shabeg Singh was an Indian Army general who joined the Khalistani movement in 1984 after he was stripped of his rank on corruption charges. Student leader Amrik Singh Khalsa headed the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSD), which has now been banned. The three were killed in Indian Army's Operation Blue Star at the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984.
There had been apprehensions regarding Pakistan’s intention to open the route for Sikh pilgrims, with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh warning that the neighbouring country could misuse the corridor to revive Sikh militancy in the state. He stressed that Pakistan's move "indicated an ulterior motive" and Punjab is on heightened alert to check any nefarious design of the neighbouring country.
"The Sikh community had been asking for opening of the passage to the sacred Kartarpur shrine for the past 70 years, but Pakistan's sudden decision to accept the demand indicated an ulterior motive, aimed at driving a wedge in the Sikh community by exploiting their religious sentiments," the chief minister told reporters.
"While we do not expect Pakistan to dare to do any mischief through the Corridor, it is important that, as a border state, Punjab remains on alert," said the chief minister adding that the state was keeping close tabs on the situation and was maintaining heightened alert.
The row has erupted just days ahead of the opening of the corridor, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian side on November 9.