September 20, 2019 | By IP Singh (ToI)
Jalandhar, Punjab: Even as the Indian government, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have strongly objected to the Pakistan’s decision to levy $20 as service fee to use Kartarpur corridor, the issue has not found much traction in the Sikh community.
While Punjab politicians have compared the service fee with ‘jaziya’ (religious tax), Sikhs have said they don’t mind paying the fee and it should not become a stumbling block for opening up of the corridor.
Some people active on the social media are ridiculing ‘strong objections’ raised over the issue, saying when people don’t mind paying the fee, then why should politicians bother and make it a big issue. They have also pointed out that for reaching important Sikh shrines in Punjab, including Darbar Sahib, they are already paying a toll tax.
“There is no objection among Sikhs on Pakistan levying some fee and it is wrong to call it ‘jaziya’. For the last few days, wherever we have discussed the issue, the common refrain is that they don’t mind paying some fee as that will help to sustain the system and infrastructure. Still it will be better to reduce it,” said former jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib Ginai Kewal Singh who is quite active with Sikh groups. Jagjit Singh Gaba, president, Gurdwara Nauvin Patshahi, Guru Teg Bahadar Nagar in Jalandhar, said the interaction with community members in the last few days reflected that people would not mind paying a fee.
Alliance of Sikh Organizations’ spokesperson Sukhdev Singh also said the service fee of $20 was a non-issue among common Sikhs and only politicians appeared to be more concerned about it.
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