KARACHI: Before police could arrest culprits who desecrated Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib in Pano Aqil, a similar incident happened in Shikarpur, in which unknown people tore 24 pages of the sacred book.
The incident has caused annoyance and fears among the Sindhi Sikhs, who are already a minority within Pakistani religious minorities.
Sardar Jai Singh, a local Sindhi speaking Sikh of Shikarpur told Daily Times over telephone that some unknown people entered the local Gurdwara Khat Wari Darbar at Store Ganj and not only tore 24 pages of the sacred book, but also took the pages away with them.
Shikarpur police registered the case (FIR No-74/2013) under section 295 Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against unknown persons.
“Police is investigating and we are sure that soon they will arrest the actual culprits. Though we are not sure, but we have a suspicion some local extremist Hindus are involved. There already is a tussle with local Hindus in which Sikhs asked their religious leader to apologise for disrespecting the holy book,” said Singh.
ASP Shikarpur Tariq Wilayat, who is officially investigating the case, said that the police still does not know who is the actual culprit, but a case has been registered. “We have registered the case and are investigating. We still do not know who actually desecrated the holy book, however, the recent tussle between the Sikh and Hindu community creates doubts if some local Hindus are involved. We will soon find the actual culprits and the motives behind such happenings,” ASP Wilayat said.
Just last month, a similar incident took place in Pano Aqil, and some extremists tore the pages of the Sikh holy book. Despite protests, Sukkur police was not ready to register case due to pressure from Hindu parliamentarians, and had only arrested a poor man after massive protests. The incident case filed (FIR No-205/2013) under section 295-A was also registered against unknown persons.
On contact SSP Sukkur Irfan Baloch had said that it was not a big incident as Hindus and Sikhs belong to the same community and will resolve the issue at community level very soon.
Chairman Pakistan Sikh Council Sardar Ramesh Singh said that inter-religious harmony among minorities of Sindh has always remained exemplary, for which Sindh remains less extremist. “We are shocked that in a month two such incidents occurred and it is painful to see that we are being targeted. I think a group with an ulterior motive is responsible for such incidents. Now it is up to the police to conduct a transparent investigation and find the actual culprits and punish them,” he said.
Denying prior reports, Ramesh said, “Earlier, some Sikhs blamed Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MPA Lalchand Ukrani of pressurising police authorities, it was incorrect and I personally deny such allegations, that he was supporting local Hindus in this case.”
Pakistani Sikhs are a tiny community compared to Hindus who make up 5.5 million officially with several parliamentary, provincial and national assembly representatives as well as members in the senate.
However, Sikhs have a population of only 6000 in Pakistan without any representation in Sindh Assembly.
By Amar Guriro