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Delegation of Indian Sikhs to probe Lahore gurdwara takeover

A team of Indian Sikhs will soon visit Pakistan to probe the alleged takeover of a gurdwara in Lahore by Muslim hooligans who have forced the devotees out of the temple.

world Updated: Aug 23, 2007 17:55 IST

A team of Indian Sikhs will soon visit Pakistan to probe the alleged takeover of a gurdwara in Lahore by Muslim hooligans who have forced the devotees out of the temple.

"Members of the Parmjit Singh Sarna Pradhan Delhi Gurdwara Sikh Prabhandak Committee are planning to visit the Bhai Taro Singh gurdwara in Lahore to take note of the government's inaction in handling the situation," the 'Daily Times' reported on Thursday, quoted sources as saying.

"We would also hold a meeting within a week to discuss the issue which is a sensitive one," Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee chief Bishin Singh said.

Meanwhile, the Evacuee Trust Property Board which oversees the gurdwara has directed officials to demolish 18 shops adjacent to the temple in order to give the Muslims a separate entry to the shrine of Pir Kaku Shah, sources said.

However, the leader of the group occupying the temple, Sohail Butt, told the daily that he would resist if the government and Sikhs tried to stop them from entering the temple. "A large number of Muslims want to pay homage to Shah Kaku who was buried on the gurdwara premises daily."

It may be mentioned that the Sikh Guru Nanak Committee had already taken up the issue with the Evacuee Board on July 8, immediately after the occupation. They had alleged that Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Zulfiqar Ali Khan was not taking any action in this regard.

Even the local shop owners, whose outlets are to be demolished, have blamed the Chairman for allowing the Muslim occupants to renovate the Pir Shah Kaku shrine, thereby giving them an opportunity to takeover the Sikh temple.

However, Khan has denied all the allegations saying he was not involved in the issue.