NW DELHI: India has asked Pakistan to attend to repair and reconstruction of parts of Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara that were damaged in a storm over the weekend that resulted in several domes built atop the outer perimeter walls of the complex falling to the ground.
The shrine in Pakistan’s Narowal district, built where founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak Dev, lived the last years of his life, is highly revered by followers of the faith and other worshippers in India and the world.
“India has taken up the issue of collapse of domes of the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib with Pakistan. It has been highlighted that the damage to the structures in the holy Gurudwara have caused great consternation to the members of the Sikh community," a person familiar with the developments said on Sunday.
According to Pakistani officials, the government had spent (Pakistani) ₹13.8 million to develop the complex and the work – construction of the complex as well as roads from Lahore and other parts of the country – was finished in record time to cater to the demand with the help of the Pakistani military.
“Their strong sense of faith and devotion to the holy site must be fully understood and appreciated. India has urged Pakistan that in deference to the sentiments of the Sikh community, the deficiencies which led to the damage to the newly constructed structures be urgently rectified and remedied," the person added.
The shrine was opened to devotees from India on 9 November to coincide with the year-long commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Setting aside differences and tensions – on account of a terrorist attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama district and India’s punitive strike on Pakistan’s Balakot region in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province last year – the two countries had arrived at an agreement on documents that devotees from India would carry while crossing into Pakistan for the pilgrimage.
The two countries had agreed on other modalities as well – including how many pilgrims would cross over in a day and the arrangements made for them at the gurudwara. Pakistan, on its part, had developed the gurudwara complex to accommodate hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who were to visit from India as well as abroad during the course of the year.
But on Saturday, at least two domes of gurudwara collapsed due in the thunderstorm and high-speed wind in the area, news reports said.