The government of Pakistan ordered to immediately repair five domes of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib which fell during a windstorm early on Saturday. The domes have been repaired and reinstalled in 24 hours. However, Indian government wasted no time in asking Pakistan to look into the matter.
“India has taken up with Pakistan the issue of the collapse of domes of the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines,” India today said quoting official sources on Sunday.
“India has conveyed to Pakistan that the damage to the structures in the Gurudwara has caused great consternation among the Sikh community. India has urged Pakistan that in deference to the sentiments of the Sikh community, the deficiencies which led to the damage the newly-constructed structures be urgently rectified and remedied,” the newspaper stated.
Notably, Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Science and Technology, said an immediate inquiry into the collapse of the domes would be conducted. “The matter has been addressed before the Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri with a request for an inquiry,” tweeted the minister.
Gurdwara #Kartarpur repaired within hours of damage caused by strong winds,this is the difference of attitude btw #Endia and #Pakistan despite extremists groups State policy is to protect, preserve and safeguard rights of minorities whereas in Endia State owns extremists pic.twitter.com/u6wYAuSh3C
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) April 19, 2020
Sardar Satwant Singh of Pakistan Gurdwara Bhandak Committee said on his Facebook account on Sunday, “Due to heavy rain with thunderstorm and strong winds at DSK on 17/18 April, 2 stalls and 5 domes of Gurdwara got damaged which have been repaired today in 24 hours in record time by the expert team.”
Nothing to do with construction fibre Dome couldnt take brunt of wind and fell, fixed within hours https://t.co/9j2WBpjUZW
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) April 19, 2020
Gurdwara’s caretakers Sardar Inderjeet Singh, Sardar Manjeet Singh and Sardar Partab Singh said two golden and white domes fell from the minaret of Gurdwara’s museum and one each from the minarets of the Deewan Asthaan and Darshan Dewoori. The tombs fell on the floor without causing any further loss, they added.
The building of the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur was expanded and renovated by the government of Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan had opened the Kartarpur Corridor on Nov 9 last year to allow the Sikh community from India to visit their sacred place without getting visa.
PM Modi taking credit for Sikhs rights?
The Modi-led BJP did not show much interest in the construction of the Kartarpur corridor. There have been various baseless allegations, levelled against Pakistan by New Delhi and violations of Pakistan’s airspace. Despite all the tactics used by the BJP, Pakistan did not decide to shut down the corridor.
But later on, the Indian premier declared himself as the champion of Sikh’s rights, who managed the opening of the corridor for them. A statement of the Indian premier irked Sikh Community. Ravinder Pal Singh Timma, President Gursikh Welfare Association, told local media in Agra that this corridor was a brainchild of the association and they had been trying to get this which was sanctioned by the government of Pakistan for the past 19 years.
He also showed some past documentation and correspondence he personally had with the foreign ministries of both India and Pakistan, Mr Timma said that “What the BJP is doing now, it is taking credit of the fruit that has been borne by the efforts of the Sikhs. The Sikh community has never received its due share in the country and have always been deceived. 87 per cent of the martyrs in the freedom struggle were from Punjab, yet the Sikh community was never appreciated.”
He said that he had even talked to the then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during the Agra summit and requested that the Kartarpur shrine be gifted to India, or be declared No-Man’s Land and a corridor be constructed leading from the Indian border to the shrine.
Religious Minorities in India
The rise of Hindutva in India has been marginalizing religious minorities in India. According to several reports, the primary target of mob violence of BJP goons are Muslims but sometimes Sikhs who are believed to be ideologically alien are also beaten up.
The 2018 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom released by Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, in June stated that “Hindu-groups had used violence, intimidation, and harassment against Muslims and low-caste Dalits in 2017 to force a religion-based national identity.”
It is important to recall that RSS does not believe that Sikhs are a distinct religious community. RSS’s insistence that Sikhs are ‘Kesadhari Hindus’ though a ‘valorous’ ones hurt religious sentiments of the later and questions their distinctive identity in so-called secular India. Interestingly, there is a strong belief amongst Sikhs that RSS is actively conspiring to undermine their religion through various direct and indirect means to ultimately wipe them out.