Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson, External Affairs Ministry, said on Monday that India had lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over reports of attempts to covert a historic Gurudwara into a Mosque in the eastern city of Lahore.
In reply to media queries, the official spokesperson said, “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 Singhji 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.”
.@MEAIndia lodges strong protest with Pakistan over reported attempts to convert Gurudwara Shahidi Asthan site of martyrdom of Bhai Taru Singh ji in Lahore has been claimed as Masjid Shahid | India Newshttps://t.co/ZkIbktSnyr pic.twitter.com/V7QvD8al0f— RP Singh: National Secretary BJP (@rpsinghkhalsa) July 27, 2020
Srivastava said that the Gurudwara is a place of reverence and considered sacred by the Sikh community. The said incident is of grave concern for India. The Sikhs are in the minority in Pakistan, and there have been calls for justice for them. India has expressed its interests in the strongest terms on this incident. India has asked Pakistan to investigate and take immediate action against those who are attempting to take over the Gurudwara. He said, “Pakistan was also called upon to look after the safety, security, well-being of its minority communities including protection of their religious rights and cultural heritage.”
What is the case?
There were media reports that a maulvi had occupied the land that belonged to the said Gurudwara in Lahore, Pakistan. He said that Pakistan is an Islamic country and only Muslims can stay here. The maulvi, Sohail Bhatt Attari, is associated with Daawat-e-Islami (Barelawi). He is the caretaker of Hazrat Shah Kaku Chishti Dargah in Lahore. It is believed that he took control of the Gurudwara’s land with the help of the locals. Sohail, in a video, claimed that the land on which Gurudwara stands belong to Hazrat Shah Kaku Chishti Dargah and Shaheedganj Masjid.
As per reports, Pakistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has taken cognisance of the protests and has asked the Lahore police to take ‘strict action’ against the maulvi named Sohail Bhatt Attari who has been provoking locals aginst the historic Gurudwara.
The history of Gurdwara ‘Shahidi Asthan’ at Naulakha Bazaar in Lahore
The said historical shrine was built at the spot where Bhai Taru Singh sustained fatal injuries back in 1745. Bhai Taru Singh was asked to convert by then Governor of Lahore, Zakariya Khan Bahadur. Bhai Taru Singh refused and said he could never betray his gurus. When all his attempts went unheard, Zakariya Khan said that he heard that Sikhs are known for their generosity and asked for his hair. Bhai Taru Singh smiled and agreed but on a condition that he will give hair with his skull. Bhai Taru Singh’s ultimate sacrifice is still remembered as one of the bravest acts in history.