It was just a few weeks ago, that India had communicated to Pakistan to look after the safety and cultural heritage of the religious minorities residing in Pakistan when an incident of a Buddha statue being ruined on a request of a religious cleric came to surface. In the string of protests made by India over Pakistan’s treatment of its religious minorities, especially Sikhs and Hindus on Monday (27th July), a strong protest was lodged by India in the Pakistan High Commission over an incident where allegedly an attempt was being made to convert a Gurdwara into a Mosque in the city of Lahore.
In a statement issued by a spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of, “ A strong protest was lodged with the Pakistan High Commission today on the reported incident whereby Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan, site of martyrdom of Bhai Taru Singh ji at Naulakha Bazaar in Lahore, Pakistan has been claimed as the place of Masjid Shahid Ganj and attempts are being made to convert it to a mosque”.
It’s a place of reverence and sacred to the Sikh community and hence the matter is being viewed with grave concern in India the spokesperson further said.
Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan Bhai Taru Ji is a place where Bhai Taru Ji made a supreme sacrifice in 1745. This site of martyrdom is claimed to be the place of Masjid Shahid Ganj and an attempt is being made to convert it into a mosque. The shrine in question here is a historical place and holds immense value among the Sikh community.
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The MEA spokesperson also added, that India has expressed her concerns regarding the incident and since the Sikh community is a religious minority in Pakistan, justice is being called for them. Pakistan has been asked to look into the matter and take measures to remedy the situation immediately. The neighboring country has also been asked to uphold the security and well-being of the minority communities which is inclusive of their religious rights and cultural heritage.
In fact, this news has stirred up social media already, with Twitteratis scrutinizing the incident and raising their concerns for religious minorities in Pakistan. Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab also expressed his opinion on the micro-blogging site while Manjinder Singh Sirsa, a spokesperson of the Akali Dal even tweeted to Pakistan’s Prime Minister to take action against such “extremists”.
As this goes on, a letter was realized by Pakistani officials where Pakistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has requested the Pakistan police authorities to take “strict disciplinary actions” against Lahore based local who was allegedly instigating people against the Sikh community. The officials even accused the locals of trying to “defame Pakistan by uploading a baseless propaganda video” by spreading communal hate and speaking against the Sikh community living in Pakistan.
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