India on Friday strongly condemned an incident of vandalism at the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Nankana Sahib district in Pakistan’s Punjab province. An angry mob of residents had stormed the shrine earlier in the day, ANI reported. The group was led by the family of a boy who had allegedly abducted a Sikh woman who is the daughter of the gurdwara’s pathi.
“Members of the minority Sikh community have been subjected to acts of violence in the holy city of Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release. “These reprehensible actions followed the forcible abduction and conversion of Jagjit Kaur, the Sikh girl who was kidnapped from her home in the city of Nankana Sahib in August last year.”
The ministry asked the Government of Pakistan to take immediate steps to ensure the safety, security, and welfare of the members of the Sikh community. “Strong action must be taken against the miscreants who indulged in desecration of the holy Gurudwara and attacked members of the minority Sikh community,” the ministry said. It added that the Pakistan government should take all measures to protect and preserve the sanctity of the shrine, as well as its surroundings.
Manmohan Singh, the brother of Jagjit Kaur, told The Times of India that “they [Muslims] have attacked the gurdwara and are pelting stones”. “We [Sikhs] are confined to our homes or gurdwaras,” he added.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to immediately intervene to “ensure that the devotees stranded in Gurdwara Nankana Sahib are rescued”.
Pakistan had in August formed a high-level committee to negotiate with a 30-member team formed by the Sikh community in connection with the case of the abduction of Kaur. The police identified the suspects and traced them to Lahore, detaining one of them. Three people involved in the incident received anticipatory bail, while two are absconding.