COVID protocol in place as Kartarpur Corridor between India, Pak opens

Pilgrims, however, complained of glitches in the online registration process, which is not allowing them to register for visiting the Sikh community’s holy shrine on the other side of the border

The Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. Pic: PTI

India is set to reopen the path to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan on Wednesday (November 17) after a gap of more than a year, but just ahead of Gurunanak Jayanti, which falls on November 19.

Pilgrims, however, complained of glitches in the online registration process, which is not allowing them to register for visiting the Sikh community’s holy shrine in Pakistan. About 100-200 pilgrims from India are likely to cross over to Pakistan via the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on any given day.

The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan to the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. It was closed in March 2020, following the COVID outbreak. The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan is sacred for Sikhs because it is the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued protocol for pilgrims in view of COVID-19 pandemic in consultation with the Pakistan government:

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  1. Only fully vaccinated people can cross the border for the pilgrimage.

2. Besides COVID-19 vaccination certificate, all pilgrims will have to carry a negative RT-PCR report, not older than 72 hours prior to arrival.

3. Additionally, the Pakistan authorities will conduct Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) on every pilgrim upon their arrival in Pakistan.

4. Wearing masks will be compulsory and social distancing norms will have to be followed strictly.

5. No random test will be conducted in between, but those found to have temperature or any symptom of COVID-19 will be moved to isolation.

These protocols will be in addition to those already in place between India and Pakistan.

Also read: Allow people to take second Covishield jab in 4 weeks: Kerala HC to Centre

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for re-opening the Kartarpur corridor ahead of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Channi pat his own back for following up the issue of reopening of corridor with the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister. He said that “this is a joyous occasion for entire Punjabi community in general and Sikh brethren in particular”.

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