India’s PM Narendra Modi likened the launch of the Kartarpur corridor and the landmark Ayodhya ruling to the fall of one of the Cold War’s iconic symbols, noting the events occuring on the same day was a message to stay “united.”
The date coincided with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the parallels were immediately drawn.
“Today is November 9, the day when the Berlin Wall was brought down. Today the Kartarpur corridor was also inaugurated. Now the Ayodhya verdict, so this date gives us the message to stay united and move forward,” Modi said, lauding the achievements.
There is no place for fear, bitterness and negativity in ‘New India’.
The opening of the Kartarpur corridor came as a rare example of cooperation between the two rivaling nations – India and Pakistan. Facilitating travel for Sikhs, who live in the historic region of Punjab – divided between the two countries – has been on New Delhi’s agenda for decades already.
The corridor, officially inaugurated on Saturday, provides Sikh pilgrims with access to one of their faith’s holiest sites – the tomb of Guru Nanak – which is located just a few kilometers into Pakistani land. Still, the path to open the corridor proved to be quite bumpy as it was marred by several scandals and allegations that Islamabad plotted to fuel Sikh separatism within India under the guise of a humanitarian action.
The Ayodhya ruling, in turn, might potentially be a highly divisive issue for India itself. On Saturday, the country’s Supreme Court decided to hand over the site in northern India, disputed by Hindus and Muslims, to a trust that will oversee the construction of a Hindu temple.
While the Hindus believe the Ayodhya site to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, it also used to house a grand mosque, constructed back in the 16th century.
The Muslim place of worship was allegedly build atop a destroyed Hindu temple – yet this theory is still a matter of debate.
Ayodhya was disputed by Hindus and Muslims since at least the 18th century, yet matters got worse in 1992, when the mosque was demolished by the Hindus. Its destruction sparked widespread communal violence across the country, which left at least 2,000 people dead.
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