Casting aspersions over Pakistan’s intent in agreeing to open the Kartarpur Corridor, the Punjab Police chief, Dinkar Gupta, claimed on Friday that the passage open for Sikh pilgrims was a massive security challenge from terrorism standpoint. He contended that Kartarpur had the potential of turning an ordinary man into a trained terrorist.
Speaking at the Indian Express Idea Exchange in Panchkula, Gupta said, “Kartarpur provides a possibility that if you had sent some ordinary folks in the morning, they would return in the evening as trained terrorists. You have six hours to be there in Pakistan, you can be taken to a firing range, you can be taught to make an IED in those hours.”
Gupta also added that there were reasons why the Kartarpur corridor was opened all these years, asserting that some nefarious elements in the neighbouring country were trying to “lure pilgrims and making advances to them”.
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“There is a reason why the Kartarpur Corridor was not open for the pilgrim all these years. I was at the Intelligence Bureau for eight years. I used to handle it over there. There was a looming feeling over there that opening Kartarpur Corridor can throw open a can of worms and pose a huge security challenge. However, as the community and the Sikh diaspora wanted it, we ignored the security concerns accompanying it and gave our nod to its opening,” Gupta said.
Gupta mentioned that he had attended a brainstorming session in Delhi last week where Pakistani attempts to find potential people for radicalisation was discussed. He added that Pakistani based agencies and individuals were desperately trying to woo the pilgrims, making unwarranted overtures to them. The Punjab DGP also raised concerns about the number of people visiting the Kartarpur Corridor of late. ” Earlier there were very few people who visited the Corridor but nowadays, the footfall of those visiting is increasing exponentially. This is a huge potential for elements based in Pakistan to brainwash people. It’s a security challenge,” Gupta responded to a question on whether Pakistan’s proposal to discontinue the usage of passport combined with Referendum 2020 posed a security challenge.
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The DGP’s apprehensions were also shared by the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who, at the time of the announcement of Kartarpur Corridor, had said that though he is happy at the development as a Sikh, the threat posed to our nation cannot be ignored. Singh had smelled a conspiracy behind the Pakistani move of opening up the Sikh pilgrimage, saying there’s a hidden agenda behind Pakistani overtures.
Singh had also claimed that Pakistani Army, ISI along with the proscribed Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) group was trying to revive Khalistani terrorism in India’s Punjab. Earlier in December 2018, while reacting to the statement made by the SJF’s Gurpatwant Singh Pannu soliciting Pakistan’s support to ‘liberate’ Punjab from India, the CM stated that it has exposed the evil nexus between the Pakistan army and the SFJ.
Gupta also rang alarms over the use of drones to drop weapons and drugs into the Indian side. He stated that one Army Naik Rahul Chauhan, who was amongst 3 people arrested for using drones to smuggle arms and drugs last month, was trained in the army on operating drones.