In a shocking incident of violence against minorities in Pakistan, hundreds of angry Muslims gathered outside the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara — the birthplace of Guru Nanak — and pelted stones at the shrine with devotees inside on Friday evening.
The mob was being reportedly led by the family of Mohammad Hassan, the boy who allegedly abducted and converted Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur, who is the daughter of the gurdwara’s granthi.
The angry mob gheraoed the holy shrine, leaving many devotees stranded inside. The protesters threatened to destroy the gurdwara and build a mosque in its place.
Video clips doing the rounds on the social media showed a family member of the boy saying that he will destroy the gurdwara to build a mosque. The man is further heard saying that he will ensure that no Sikh is left in the city and that it is renamed from Nankana Sahib to Ghulaman-e-Mustafa.
President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Manjinder Singh Sirsa also shared a video of the incident on his Twitter handle.
Hear the video and feel the kind of terror minorities live with in Pakistan
Mohammad Hassan openly threatens to destroy Nankana Sahib Gurdwara and build the mosque in that place@ImranKhanPTI is urged to take action against communal trend of hatred@TimesNow @ANI @ZeeNews pic.twitter.com/OrxQV1m2Kh
— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) January 3, 2020
Meanwhile, several Sikh groups gathered outside Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on Saturday to condemn the attack.
Ministry of External Affairs had earlier issued a statement condemning the vandalism of the holy Sikh shrine.
“We are concerned at the vandalism carried out at the revered Nankana Sahib Gurdwara (in Pakistan) today. Members of the minority Sikh community have been subjected to acts of violence in the holy city of Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji,” the ministry statement said.
India also called upon Pakistan to take immediate steps to ensure safety security and welfare of the Sikh community.
“India strongly condemns these wanton acts of destruction and desecration of the holy place. We call upon the Government of Pakistan to take immediate steps to ensure the safety, security, and welfare of the members of the Sikh community,” it said.
This came after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal condemned the attack and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan to intervene in the matter.
“Appeal to @ImranKhanPTI to immediately intervene to ensure that the devotees stranded in Gurdwara Nankana Sahib are rescued and the historic Gurdwara is saved from the angry mob surrounding it,” Amarinder Singh had tweeted.
Former Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal tweeted: “Mob attack on Gurdwara Sri #NankanaSahib, birth place of Guru Nanak Dev ji, is a despicable act and I urge PM @narendramodi ji to take it up with Pak PM @ImranKhanPTI. We have to ensure the safety of Sikhs in Pakistan and I trust that the govt will address the issue on priority (sic).”
In a statement, the SAD president said it was shocking that the local administration in Nankana Sahib remained a mute spectator to the violence unleashed by the mob which tried to gate crash into the gurdwara compound and indulged in inflammatory speeches.
“I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the issue with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. This is a despicable act and it is the Pakistan government’s primary human, moral and constitutional duty to ensure the safety of Sikhs in the country,” Badal further said.
Demanding quick and exemplary action against those who were targeting the Sikh community and disrespecting the Sikh religion, he said the entire Sikh world had been shaken by the heinous incident and the Pakistan government should take appropriate steps to reside the faith of the Sikhs in the rule of law.
Meanwhile, Muslim body Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has condemned the stone-pelting incident at Nankana Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan, and demanded that those involved should be arrested.
“We demand Pakistan government should arrest those persons involved in this incident and safety should be provided to the pilgrims,” Jamaat President Sadatullah Hussaini said.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has termed the mob attack as “wanton acts of vandalism”, adding that this is a proof on the state of minorities in Pakistan.