Reports of Gurudwara Shahidi Asthan being converted to a mosque, have brought India and Pakistan face to face again. It is being claimed that the site on which the Gurudwara is built, belongs to Muslims and that it might get converted into a mosque. In India, the issue has reached great heights as Sikhs are protesting against any such action.
Gurudwara Shahidi Asthan: A place of reverence for Sikhs
Gurudwara Shahidi Asthan is situated at Naulakha Bazaar in Lahore, Pakistan. It is the site of martyrdom of ‘Bhai Taru Singh Ji’. It is a historical place considered sacred by Sikhs.
Back in 1745, Bhai Taru Singh Ji assisted Sikhs in fighting the Mughals. As a result, he was tortured and scalped by the then Governor of Lahore, Zakariya Khan Bahadur. He was later declared as a martyr by Sikhs for his supreme sacrifice.
What is the issue?
Recently, ANI reported that Sohail Butt, an activist of Dawat-e-Islam (Beraillwi), had made a video threatening the Sikh community. In the video, Sohail claimed that the land on which the Gurudwara is built, belongs to the Mazar of Muslim Prophet Hazrat Shah Kaku Chesti and adjoining Masjid Shaheed Ganj. Therefore, he claimed that the land belongs to Muslims. As many Gurudwaras in Pakistan are in a dilapidated condition, tensions rose over whether the Gurudwara will get converted to a mosque.
What is India’s stand?
In response to the claims being made, India on Monday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan High Commission on the same. MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said “There have been calls for justice for the minority Sikh community in Pakistan. The gurudwara is a place of reverence and considered sacred by the Sikh community. This incident has been viewed with grave concern in India”. The government further said that India has asked Pakistan to look into the matter and ensure the “safety, security and well-being” of minority communities like Sikhs.
The reports have also infuriated Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh. He took to Twitter to express his concern over the issue.
“Strongly condemn attempts being made to convert holy Gurdwara Sri Shahidi Asthan, into a mosque”, Capt. Amarinder Singh tweeted. He also asked the Ministry of External Affairs to look into the matter seriously.