Shrine ‘untouched, undamaged’, reports of desecration ‘false’: Pak
Pakistan on Friday rejected media reports that the historic Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Punjab province was desecrated in a mob attack, saying the birthplace of founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak remains “untouched and undamaged” and the “claims of destruction” of one of the holiest Sikh shrines are “false”.
In a statement, the Pakistan foreign office said the provincial authorities in the Punjab province have informed that there was a scuffle in the city of Nankana Sahib on Friday between two Muslim groups. The altercation happened on a minor incident at a tea stall and the district administration immediately intervened and arrested the accused, it said.
“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,” the foreign office said.
The statement came after reports in the Indian media said that a mob attack had taken place at the shrine. The reports suggested that hundreds of angry residents at Nankana Sahib pelted stones at Sikh pilgrims on Friday.
Police in Pakistan said on Friday that a group of people, led by the family of a Muslim man who married a Sikh teenager, held a day-long sit-in outside the gurdwara to protest the arrest of their relatives who were held for alleged forced conversion of the girl.
Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, also known as the Gurdwara Janam Asthan, is the site where the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak, was born. It is regarded as one of the holiest Sikh sites.