Pakistan’s ETPB, along with some fundamentalists, locked down Gurdwara Shahid Bhai Taru Singh and claimed the structure was a mosque.
The Gurdwara is located just outside the walled city of Lahore, in an area called Nalaukha (Photo: The Dawn)
Satender Chauhan: The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) of Pakistan has closed Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh in Lahore for worship, claiming that it is a mosque. Pakistan’s ETPB locked down the Gurdwara along with some fundamentalists, angering the Islamic nation’s Sikh community.
The Dawn reported that there has been a long-standing dispute over the Gurudwara located in Lahore. According to reports, a large number of devotees visit this Gurdwara daily and recite Guru Granth Sahib.
The gurdwara, located in the Naloukha area of Shaheed Ganj, has a long and turbulent history, having been at the center of conflict between the city’s Sikhs and Muslims.
This is not the first time that Pakistan has locked down a Gurdwara and claimed it as a mosque. A similar incident was reported two years ago, when a prominent gurdwara was declared a mosque, prompting Indian authorities to intervene and protest. India then said that the Gurdwara was a place of reverence and that the Sikh community considered it ‘sacred’.
What is the controversy?
The Gurdwara is located just outside the walled city of Lahore, in an area called Nalaukha which is believed to have once housed the fabled palace of Prince Dara Shikoh. According to reports, Shikoh served as the governor of Lahore before his assassination by his younger brother Aurangzeb.
Sikhs believe that this is where hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children of the community were massacred on the orders of Mir Mannu, governor of Lahore and representative of the Mughal Empire.
The Sikhs claim that Mir Mannu himself allowed them to set up a Gurdwara here when they agreed to help him in conquering Multan at the behest of Diwan Kaura Mal, who in turn was given charge of Multan by Mir Mannu, the report noted.
But Muslims maintain that the Sikhs forcibly took over the mosque, which was functional, after they came to power in Lahore after the fall of the Mughal Empire.