Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday made it clear that devotees applying online to visit Sri Kartarpur Sahib were not being charged by the Sewa Kendras set up by the state government and said anyone asked to pay any fee should inform his office directly.
Reacting to reports of pilgrims beings charged some kind of facilitation fee for applying through the online portal at the Sewa Kendras, the Chief Minister said there was no question of charging the devotees and the application process was totally free of cost.
If any specific complaint is received by the state government, he would personally ensure strict action against the officials found guilty of such misconduct, which would be a total violation of his government’s decision to provide free application service to the devotees, said the Chief Minister.
Pointing out that he had been personally opposing the $20 fee imposed by Pakistan government for devotees travelling to the historic Gurdwara through the Kartarpur Corridor, the Chief Minister said the imposition of any fee for such purpose was totally against the religious tenets of Sikhism. In fact, India had never charged pilgrims from any country, including from Pakistan, for visiting and paying obeisance at any religious shrine, he observed, adding that his government was completely against any deviation from this practice.
The Sewa Kendras, said Captain Amarinder, had been issued detailed guidelines for facilitating and processing online applications of those desirous of visiting Kartarpur gurdwara. These guidelines did not include any facilitation fee, he said, adding that he would take serious note of any violation of these guidelines.
His government was committed to ensuring seamless and hassle-free visit of all devotees keen on making the journey to Sri Kartarpur Sahib, the `khulle darshan deedar of which was the aspiration and right of every Sikh, the Chief Minister asserted.
The Kartarpur Gurdwara, where Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji spent the last days of his life, held a special place in the life of every Sikh, and in fact of every follower of the great Guru, and he, like his father and great grandfather before him, would do everything in his power to ensure that the revered shrine is preserved for Sikhs for centuries, said Captain Amarinder. He felt honoured to have visited the Gurdwara personally, and would ensure that as many other followers of the founder Guru of Sikhism as possible are able to fulfill their cherished aspiration of paying respects at the shrine, he added.