India to install telescope for Sikh devotees to view Kartarpur in Pakistan

Govt. to instal instrument for across-the-border view of the gurdwara

Published - November 19, 2018 10:50 pm IST - New Delhi

Navjot Singh Sidhu paying obeisance while seeing the gurdwara through binoculars.

Navjot Singh Sidhu paying obeisance while seeing the gurdwara through binoculars.

India plans to install a “high-powered telescope” in Punjab’s Gurdaspur for Sikh devotees to view Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib across the border in Pakistan, the Home Ministry said on Monday.

This is part of a series of projects planned to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had criticised Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in September, when he had announced that Pakistan’s Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa had given him an assurance about opening a route to Kartarpur Sahib from Punjab.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had constituted a National Implementation Committee (NIC) under the chairmanship of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to plan events for the anniversary which falls in 2019. The committee’s meeting, on November 8, was attended by Mr. Sidhu among others.

The telescope would be installed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Home Ministry said in a statement.

Currently, pilgrims pay homage to the holy site with the help of binoculars, installed by the local gurdwara committee in Gurdaspur, on a raised platform that is manned by the Border Security Force (BSF). The Centre would also release a commemorative coin and postage stamps, the Home Ministry said.

“Sultanpur Lodhi, where Guru Nanak spent much of his life, will be developed as a heritage city, also incorporating Pind Babe Nanak Da,” the Ministry said. “A National Institute of Inter Faith Studies will be set up by Ministry of Human Resource Development in Punjab for which the State Government will provide land free of cost.”

Chairs on Guru Nanak Dev would be set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, one in a university in the U.K. and another in Canada.

“Publication of Gurbani in different Indian languages will be made by National Book Trust (NBT), Ministry of Human Resource Development. UNESCO will be requested to translate and publish anthology of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s writings in world languages,” the ministry added.

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