India protests Pakistan’s move to convert gurdwara into mosque

Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan is a historic shrine where Bhai Taru Singh made the supreme sacrifice in 1745.

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal and others on Tuesday strongly condemned reported attempts to convert a gurdwara into mosque at the Naulakha Bazaar in Lahore.

They also urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to take up the issue with the Pakistan government.

“Strongly condemn attempts being made to convert holy Gurdwara Sri Shahidi Asthan in Lahore, site of martyrdom of Bhai Taru Singh Ji, into mosque. Urge @DrSJaishankar to convey Punjab’s concerns in strongest terms to Pakistan to safeguard all Sikh places of reverence,” Singh said in a tweet.

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India on Monday had lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan High Commission over reports of attempts being made to convert the famous gurdwara into a mosque.

Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan is a historic shrine where Bhai Taru Singh made the supreme sacrifice in 1745.

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal urged Jaishankar to take up the issue with the Pakistan government to ensure that the character of the holy shrine was not changed in any manner whatsoever.

In a statement here, the SAD president said reports emanating from Pakistan indicated that constant efforts were being made to convert the 18th century shrine of Bhai Taru Singh into a mosque.

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Dubbing it as reprehensible, Badal said a clear cut assurance should be taken from the Pakistan government that such acts would not be allowed.

He also sought strict action against the perpetrators behind it.

Badal requested Jaishankar to take up the issue of safety of all Sikh and Hindu religious shrines in Pakistan at the highest level.

He said the Pakistan government should also ensure that Sikhs and Hindus do not face any impediments in observing the tenets of their faith.

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President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, an apex gurdwara body, Gobind Singh Longowal also condemned the incident.

Aam Aadmi Party MLA Harpal Singh Cheema asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure safety of the place of worship.

“Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan Bhai Taru Ji in Lahore is a historical gurudwara where Bhai Taru Ji made supreme sacrifice in 1745. I strongly condemn the attempts to convert the holy place. Urging @AmitShah to intervene. @ImranKhanPTI should ensure the safety of the sacred place,” Cheema said in a tweet.

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