India summons Pak CDA over transfer of management of Kartarpur Sahib to non-Sikh body; demands reversal of decision

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New Delhi, Nov 6 (PTI) India on Friday summoned the Charge d'Affaires (CDA) of the Pakistan High Commission here to lodge a strong protest over Islamabad's 'unilateral' decision to transfer the management of the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara from a Sikh body to a separate trust, and demanded an immediate reversal of this 'arbitrary' move.

MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said Aftab Hassan Khan, the Pakistani CDA, was categorically told that the decision by Pakistan is 'highly condemnable' and runs against the spirit of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.

Pakistan has decided to transfer the management and maintenance of the gurudwara from the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee to the administrative control of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, a non-Sikh body.

'The CDA of the Pakistan High Commission was summoned and our strong protest was conveyed. It was also conveyed to him that this unilateral decision by Pakistan is highly condemnable and runs against the spirit of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as also the religious sentiments of the Sikh community at large,' Srivastana said.

India has received representations from the Sikh community, expressing 'grave concern' over the decision by Pakistan targeting the rights of the minority Sikh community in that country, he said.

'Pakistan is called upon to reverse its arbitrary decision to deprive the Sikh minority community it’s right to manage affairs of the Holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib,' said Srivastava.

In the midst of heightened tension between the two countries, the corridor linking Dera Baba Sahib in Gurdaspur in India with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan was thrown open in November, in a historic people-to-people initiative.

Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

It is the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev, who had spent the last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur.

The relations between the two countries nosedived after India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated it into two union territories.

The corridor was shut in March in view of the coronavirus pandemic. PTI MPB PYK PYK