New Delhi: Scores of Sikhs in Pakistan and India on Saturday took to the streets in protest after the videos of stone-pelting and vandalism of the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, surfaced on the internet on Friday night.
Several Sikh devotees, including Akali Dal and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, were seen demonstrating outside Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi.
The protests escalated after Islamabad dismissed all reports of vandalism, adding that the Gurdwara remained “untouched and undamaged”.
“Attempts to paint this incident as a communal issue are patently motivated. Most importantly, the Gurdwara remains untouched and undamaged. All insinuations to the contrary, particularly the claims of acts of desecration and destruction’ and desecration of the holy place, are not only false but also mischievous,” stated the Foreign Office of the Imran Khan government.
Condemning the incident on Twitter, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the incident brings back the ‘age-old poison’ of bigotry.
“The attack on Nankana Sahab is reprehensible & must be condemned unequivocally. Bigotry is a dangerous, age-old poison that knows no borders. Love + Mutual Respect + Understanding is its only known antidote,” he tweeted.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also reacted to the incident and said, “I don’t have much information about it. Nankana Sahib is a sacred place for Sikhs and people of all religions have respect for it. If such an incident has occurred, all of us strongly condemn it.”
Many Sikh devotees were stuck inside the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara last night, after an angry mob, allegedly led by the family of Mohammed Hassan, gathered outside the shrine and raised communal and hateful slogans while pelting stones at the shrine.
Meanwhile, India demanded strong and immediate action upon the incident after the External Affairs Ministry briefed on how members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of violence at the holy city of Nankana Sahib.