DGP Dinkar Gupta
With his remarks on the security challenge being posed by the Kartarpur Corridor creating a storm, the Punjab Director General of Police, Dinkar Gupta, Saturday said he had only "red-flagged the obvious potential for misuse by elements notorious for their hostility towards India and their effort to exploit every opportunity, even the most pious one, to disturb peace and communal harmony".
Expressing "shock and outrage" at the reaction that his remarks made at The Indian Express Idea Exchange event on February 20 have generated, the DGP said that his words were "misunderstood or being willfully misconstrued".
The Opposition parties latched on to the DGP's remarks with Shiromani Akali Dal claiming that it "came from Congress headquarters" and the Aam Aadmi Party demanding that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh dismiss Gupta.
The DGP, however, said that his remarks were strictly pertaining to the security and safety of Punjab and India. There was absolutely no reference to any religion or community in his remarks but simply that some anti-national elements based in hostile neighborhood could misuse and exploit this opportunity and, therefore, "we" need to be vigilant to such potential dangers in the interest of peace and security of the people of the state, which had already suffered a lot in the past at the hands of "terrorism promoted by our hostile neighbour", he said in a statement.
"I rejoiced at the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, which has fulfilled the decades-old aspirations of millions of devotees like myself all over the world who profess their faith in Guru Nanak Dev and his divine teachings. Their daily ardas for ‘khulle darshan-deedaar' of religious shrines that remain in post-Partition Pakistan, was finally answered. It was a matter of even greater happiness that it coincided with the 550th Prakash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev," the state police chief said in a statement.
He said the Punjab government and all its agencies, including police, worked with great devotion and commitment to successfully observe the historic event. "As the state DGP, I assure that we will continue to strive to work towards facilitating trouble-free access to the holy shrine of Kartarpur Sahib," he added.
Gupta also said that, as police chief of a state, which is "faced with continuing battle against violent extremism that continues to be funded and supported from across the border," he cannot over emphasize the need to remain vigilant.
Replying to a question at The Indian Express event, the DGP had pointed out that Kartarpur Corridor posed a "a huge security challenge from terrorism point of view".
The DGP said that he was present there when the first pilgrim crossed the border at Dera Baba Nanak, to visit Kartarpur Sahib in November 2019. In the four months since, the Punjab Police has facilitated more than 51,000 devotees. "We will continue to ensure this," he said.