Attacks on Sikhs in Pakistan

India Summons Pakistan Envoy Over Attacks On Sikhs

Following the recent attacks on Sikh community members in Pakistan, India on Monday summoned a senior diplomat of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and asked the authorities to investigate the case with sincerity and share the investigation report, according to sources.

India has lodged a strong protest against the incidents taking place against the Sikh community in Pakistan. It also conveyed that Pakistan should ensure the safety and security of its minorities, who live in constant fear of religious persecution.

India’s action comes after four incidents have taken place between April-June in 2023 against the Sikh community. On Saturday, a Sikh community member was shot dead after unidentified armed men opened fire at him, Pakistan-based The News International reported.

The victim was identified as Manmohan Singh who was murdered by unidentified assailants in the Kakshal locality on Saturday. “Manmohan Singh, 34, was on his way home in an auto-rickshaw on Saturday evening when unidentified armed men opened fire on him near Guldara, Kakshal,” a spokesman for the capital city police said on Saturday night.

He was taken to hospital but he succumbed to injuries. The official said senior police officials and investigation teams have rushed to the spot to collect CCTV footage and other evidence. Besides, a search operation was also launched in the vicinity to arrest the culprits, reported The News International.

Earlier on Friday, another Sikh man was shot and injured in the Dabgari area of the provincial capital. The victim was identified as Tarlug Singh son of Makhan Singh was shot in the leg by unidentified armed men in Dabgari, The News International reported. He was taken to hospital where his condition was out of danger.

In May, assailants gunned down Sardar Singh in a drive-by shooting in the eastern city of Lahore. Singh, 63, received a fatal gunshot to the head, this is the third attack on the Sikh community. Police officer Asad Abbas said the bodyguard was wounded in the attack, according to Pakistan Today. Earlier in April, gunmen shot and killed Dayal Singh in Peshawar.

As targeting killings against the Sikh community are on the rise in Pakistan, the minority communities and especially Sikhs are feeling insecure as the Pakistan government’s failure to protect minorities is encouraging perpetrators to act with impunity. (ANI)

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Attacks on Sikhs in Pakistan

Delhi Sikhs Protest Sealing Of Lahore Gurudwara In Pakistan

A large number of people from the Sikh community in New Delhi staged a protest on Tuesday over the act of sealing Gurudwara Shaheed Bhai Taru situated at Naulakha in Lahore in Pakistan.

Members of the main organizer group, Jag Aasra Guru Ott (JAGO) party along with several other angered Sikhs marched towards the Pakistan High Commission and submitted their memorandum to the officials.

Leading the protest at Teen Murti Chowk, Manjit Singh GK, President of Jag Aasra Guru Ott (JAGO) said, “The JAGO party and Sikhs of Delhi have come here to protest against the Pakistan government who have put the lock on the historical gurudwara of Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh. The land and property of Gurudwara have already been taken by the land mafia. The Pakistan government should remove that lock and hand over the keys to Sikh communities or the Pakistan Gurudwara Prabandhak committee.”

The debate regarding the existence of the Gurudwara in Naulakha, Lahore, has raged for a long time.

Previously the Sikh community were not allowed to observe the anniversary of Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh at his Samadhi under the pressure of a local hardline Muslim group who claimed ownership rights of the land of the Samadhi.

Once again, land sharks in Lahore attempted to seize the Gurudwara’s property, causing unrest between the local Sikh and Muslim communities.

It is ironic that on one hand, Pakistan tries to portray itself as a tolerant state by opening the Gurudwara at Kartarpur, while on the other, the ruling dispensation under the pressure of mafias is sealing several religious places of minorities, escalating the tension between the majority Muslim community and other religious groups.

As per the Nehru-Liaquat agreement of 1950, both the governments of India and Pakistan solemnly agreed to the safety and security of the minorities living in the respective countries, their places of worship, and other properties.

However, the minorities living in the Islamic Republic continue to suffer as Pakistan has completely failed to honour the decisions both sides had agreed upon. (ANI)

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Yogi about Sikh Guru sacrifices

Sikh Gurus Sacrificed Everything To Safeguard Nation: Yogi

‘Sikh gurus’ sacrificed everything to safeguard the nation and remained solely dedicated to ‘selfless service. They paved the way for the protection of humanity and their teachings serve as inspiration for generations, said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday.

Extending his warm greetings to the people on Guru Nanak Dev’s ‘Prakash Parv’ in the state capital, the chief minister said, “Sikh Gurus spread the light of strength and faith wherever they went. Their lives and teachings inspire generations to remain selflessly dedicated to the nation, ‘dharm’ and humanity.”
Chief Minister Yogi went on to say, “Such grand and fearless celebrations on auspicious occasions like these cannot take place at Guru Nanak Ji’s holy place ‘Nankana Sahib’. We must learn from our mistakes in the past. History is not just a medium to study but also guides us not to repeat blunders.”

The Chief Minister further said that the Sikh gurus have always stepped forward to protect humanity whenever there was unrest, women were not safe, and humanity and ‘dharm’ was in danger. “Their teachings awakened people and spread the light of ‘humanity’.

“Today, when traveling is easy, we still face difficulties, however, Guru Nanak Dev Ji had paved the way for the welfare of humanity through religious preaching even by visiting places where it was nearly impossible to reach,” added Yogi.

Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak, MLA Sardar Baldev Singh Aulakh, former Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, Lucknow Mayor Sanyukta Bhatia, and MLA Rajeshwar Singh, among others, were present. (ANI)

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Gurupurab in Pakistan

Indian Consular Team Facilitating Safety of Sikhs Visiting Pakistan For Gurupurab

Indian consular team in Pakistan is coordinating with the Sikh jatha who are there to visit various Gurdwaras on the occasion of Gurupurab.

They are on the ground facilitating their safety and security during their stay in Pakistan.
“@IndiainPakistan consular team is on the ground, with the Indian jatha visiting Pakistan for Gurupurab, coordinating with jatha leaders, local authorities for their safety, security and to facilitate their visit to various Gurdwaras in Pakistan,” tweeted the High Commission of India, Islamabad.

Meanwhile, Sikh pilgrims expressed disappointment after the Pakistani authorities rejected 586 visas, out of a total 1496 visas, of Indian Sikhs, wanting to visit the Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

“SGPC had applied for 1496 visas, out of which, 910 were approved but 586 were rejected. The visas are valid for 10 days, and those whose visas were rejected have been disappointed a lot. Government should not reject the religious visa,” said Harbhajan Singh.

“Both governments need to provide the facility of On Arrival Visa. The Visa office must be open at Attari-Wagah Border. The buses which used to run earlier, for the darshan of the Gurdwara of Pakistan were also stopped. That should run again. Like Delhi Lahore bus. Amritsar Nankana Sahib even the Samjota Exores train has been stopped. We should connect the people of both countries through religious places. “, he further stated.

Guru Nanak’s birth celebrations are scheduled to be held in Pakistan from November 6-15.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee spokesperson Harbhajan Singh said that on November 8, the pilgrims will be celebrating the Guru Nanak Dev’s anniversary at Pakistan’s Nankana sahib.

Indian Sikh pilgrims who will travel to Pakistan would visit Dera Sahib, Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib.

Pakistan on Friday informed that its High Commission in New Delhi has issued nearly 3,000 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims to attend the week-long birth celebrations of Guru Nanak.

“On the occasion of the birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued 2,942 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to attend the Birth Celebrations scheduled to be held in Pakistan from 6-15 November 2022,” the Pakistan High Commission in India said in a statement. (ANI)

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Afghan Sikh

‘We Were Told To Embrace Islam, Even Spat Upon’

Avtar Singh, 32, an Afghan Sikh, narrates his persecution in Afghanistan and why he left Ghazni, where his family lived for five generations. Singh sees the Citizenship Law as a blessing for people like him

My forefathers settled in Afghanistan five generations ago. We lived in Ghazni, about 170 kilometres from Kabul, the Afghan Capital. We owned multiple garment shops and nearly 40 acres of land. Why we had to leave everything behind and took refuge in Delhi is a tragic story, one of religious persecution and plight of minorities in Afghanistan.

Ever since I was born, I remember being discriminated against in Afghanistan. It started with being made fun of for our attires, our pagris. They would call us kafir, be-iman and by other derogatory terms. Every time we went out we would be taunted with: “Aaj pagri me aloo rakha hai ya pyaz?” (What have you hidden in your turban today – potatoes or onions?).They would tell us to get rid of our hair and look like them. We were constantly asked to convert to Islam.

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Things took a more sinister turn with people spitting at us in public for following Sikhism, at times throwing stones at us randomly. I couldn’t send my children out, or my younger brother to school. Afghanistan was the only home we had known and we were heartbroken by the way things were happening. My mother who had seen better times before 1979 (before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) lamented at what we had come to.

My father, Shaheed Harbans Singh Khalsa, a Member of Parliament in Afghanistan, was killed in an accident in 2003. We later got to know it was all pre-planned. Mysterious papers would be thrown at our house with threats to life and ransom money. Over the years, I paid nearly ₹80-90 lakh to keep my family safe.

After a decade of living in uncertainty, constant suffering and blackmailing, we reached the breaking point and decided to flee to India. We were helped by a few people to buy tickets amounting to ₹90, 000 for seven people for the Kabul-Delhi flight.

Singh now works as a Granthi at a Gurdwara in New Delhi

That was in 2014. I lived a lifetime on that flight. I had only ₹20,000 to start a new life in India and a family of seven to feed. However, we were happy that at least we came out of Afghanistan alive.

We live on meagre resources in India. I work as a Granthi at a Gurdwara in Delhi. My brother who is in his teens also has to work to support the family. I am greatly surprised how well-behaved Indian Muslims are. They always address us as Bhaijaan and Sardar Ji and make us feel welcome in every aspect of life.

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We have to extend our visas every two to three years. I have heard of the new Citizenship Law that would give refugees like us permanent citizenship of India, and we are glad about the same. Even though I understand the sentiments of several people who have been protesting against CAA, I feel they should know why citizenship in India is so important, no less than a blessing for people like us. We can finally call India our home.

After being on the receiving end of persecution, I have become a better person, not bitter and feel no one should be persecuted on the basis of religion. Our Guru Granth Sahib teaches us: Koi Bole Ram Ram, Koi Khudaye, Koi Sewe Gosaiya, Koi Alahe (God is one, people know it by different names).