A day before the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor that will allow Indian pilgrims to travel without visas to neighbouring Pakistan to the gurdwara built at the spot where Guru Nanak spent his final years, the project was embroiled in a fresh controversy due to an exhibit put up at the site by Pakistani authorities.
According to some Indians who were part of a private group that recently visited Durbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, Pakistani authorities have created an exhibit featuring a small bomb that was purportedly dropped on the shrine by the Indian Air Force during the 1971 war.
The bomb has been placed within a glass case placed atop a small pillar decorated with the ‘khanda’, a symbol representing the Sikh faith.
A board erected next to the pillar has a description that reads: “Miracle of Waheguruji.”
It further states: “Indian Air Force dropped this Bomb during 1971 at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Sri Kartarpur Sahib with the aim to destroy it. However, this evil design could not be materialised due to blessing of Waheguru Ji (Almighty Allah). The said bomb landed into Sri Khoo Sahib (Sacred Well) and this Darbar Sahib remained unheart (sic). It is pertinent to mention that this is the same sacred well from where Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji used to get water to irrigate his fields.”
There was no immediate response from Indian officials on the issue.
People familiar with planning for the opening of the corridor said the exhibit appeared to be part of Pakistan’s efforts to fan separatist sentiments in India’s Punjab state and to drive a wedge between Sikhs and other communities in the country.
Earlier this week, another controversy hit the celebrations when a song released by Pakistan to mark the opening of the corridor featured posters of Khalistani separatist leaders. India condemned the step and lodged a strong protest with Islamabad.
Government officials had earlier said that the Kartarpur Corridor, being opened as part of celebrations marking the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, serves a “strategic purpose” for forces in Pakistan that want to boost pro-Khalistan elements.
The renovation and expansion of the Durbar Sahib gurdwara was carried out by the Frontier Works Organisation, the military engineering unit of the Pakistan Army, and the people cited above said the exhibit could be the handiwork of elements in the military.