Attack on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib triggers protests

New Delhi: Leaders cutting across party lines and various outfits on Saturday condemned the mob attack on the historic Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Lahore, terming it as ‘cowardly’ and ‘shameful’, while hundreds of protesters thronged the streets near the Pakistan High Commission here demanding that the neighbouring country provide adequate security to Sikh shrines and community members there.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex body which manages Sikh shrines in India, said it will send a four-member delegation to Pakistan to take stock of the situation and urged the Pakistan government to take stringent action against the culprits who attacked the Gurdwara — birthplace of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev and one of the holiest sites in Sikhism.
BJP leaders and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad said that the incident has proved once again that the government was right in bringing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) for giving citizenship to members of minority communities who have come to India before 2015 to escape religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
In New Delhi, police barricaded the roads to prevent protesters — belonging to the BJP, Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and other organisations — from reaching the Pakistan High Commission.
The protesters carried banners and placards reading ‘Shame on Pakistan’, ‘Double standard of Imran Khan, Sikhs are being tortured in Pakistan’, while some urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to protect the Gurdwara.
A huge posse of police personnel was deployed the protestors were stopped near Chanakyapuri police station in the diplomatic enclave.
BJP and Congress members stood on either side of a road and raised slogans against Pakistan and its prime minister. Sikh community members also submitted a memorandum to the Pakistan High Commission, said DSGMC president Manjinder S Sirsa. Several Sikh and Dogra organisations held separate protests in Jammu and Poonch against the incident.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi deplored the ‘unprovoked’ attack on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib and called upon the government to immediately take up the issue with Pakistani authorities to ensure safety of pilgrims and adequate security for the shrine to prevent any future attacks.
“The Government of India should also press for immediate registration of case, arrest and action against the culprits,” she said in a statement.
Rahul Gandhi termed it as a reprehensible incident and said bigotry is a dangerous, age-old poison that knows no borders.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said such incidents cannot be tolerated and requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the issue with Pakistan to ensure the security of Sikhs in the neighbouring country.
He said that earlier a Sikh girl was abducted there and now this attack on the Gurdwara established that there was a threat to minorities in the neighbouring country.
Union minister and party leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the incident exposes the ‘true face’ of Pakistan where ‘persecution of minorities is a reality’.
BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said minorities in Pakistan have been subjected to threats for civil conversion, rapes and violence for decades and the Nankana incident shows how minorities there are persecuted and why they need citizenship in India.
Lekhi also said this incident should open the eyes of Congress leaders such as Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Navjot Singh Sidhu, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Leftist leaders and the urban Naxals, who have been opposing the CAA.
Lekhi and Pakistani minister Fawad Chaudhry were also involved in Twitter spat over the issue of mob attack on the shrine.
Reacting to Lekhi’s comment, the Pakistani Minister for Science and Technology tweeted, “…BJP spokesperson giving lectures on diversity and religious harmony is like pot calling the kettle black. You guys are most bigoted bunch of haters so stop fake propaganda.”
Lekhi hit back immediately saying Chaudhry should ‘take charge’ of initiating action against those involved in the incident and also ‘stop conversions, rape and abductions taking place in Pakistan’. (PTI)

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