Monday, 30th October 2017

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Mob targets Pakistan Sikh shrine

The matter was resolved late in the night but by then it had drawn criticism from India

  • Published 4.01.20, 2:29 AM
  • Updated 4.01.20, 2:29 AM
  • a min read

Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, one of the most revered Sikh shrines, came under attack on Friday from a mob that allegedly threatened to rechristen the city named after Guru Nanak.

As Sikhs who had gathered at Nankana Sahib to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh “panicked”, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh swiftly urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure the safety of the community and the gurdwara.

The matter was resolved late in the night but by then it had drawn criticism from India, which urged the Pakistan government to take immediate steps to ensure the safety, security and welfare of the Sikh community.

India’s official statement also demanded action against those involved in the desecration of the gurdwara, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, and the attack on the minority Sikh community.

The immediate trigger was a festering dispute between the two communities over the marriage of a Sikh woman, Jagjit Kaur, to a Muslim man, Ehsan, also a local. The woman is alleged to have been forcibly converted and married though she has said it was consensual.

The gurdwara came under siege on Friday after police picked up Ehsan and some of his relatives in connection with another dispute, although his family members insisted it was to pressurise them ahead of the next hearing in the conversion case.

Through the siege, threats were made to Sikhs in the gurdwara and those living in the area. According to Pakistani newspaper Dawn, the mob dispersed after the release of those detained following negotiations.