Pakistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has closed Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh, located in Lahore, for worship, claiming that it is a mosque. Pakistan’s ETPB along with some fundamentalists has put a lock on the Gurudwara which has angered the Sikh community in the Islamic nation.
A dispute has been going on for a long time regarding the Gurudwara situated in Lahore, The Dawn reported. A large number of devotees visit this Gurudwara everyday and recite Guru Granth Sahib, the report said.
The Gurdwara, located in Shaheed Ganj Naloukha area, has a long and tumultuous history, having been a bone of contention between the city’s Sikhs and Muslims.
This is not the first time when Pakistan has locked a Gurudwara and claimed it to be a mosque. A similar incident was reported two years ago, when a prominent Gurudwara was declared a mosque, prompting the Indian authorities to intervene in the matter and lodge a protest. India had then stated that Gurudwara is a place of reverence and the Sikh community considers it as ‘sacred’.
The gurudwara is located a little outside the walled city of Lahore, in an area called Nalaukha that is believed to have once housed the fabled palace of Prince Dara Shikoh. Shikoh served as governor of Lahore before his assassination at the hands of his younger brother, Aurangzeb, the report stated.
The Sikhs believe that it was at this site that hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children from the community were massacred on the orders of Mir Mannu, the governor of Lahore and representative of the Mughal Empire.
The Sikhs claim Mir Mannu himself allowed them to set up a gurdwara here after they agreed to help him in the conquest of Multan at the behest of Diwan Kaura Mal, who was consequently given charge of Multan by Mir Mannu, the report mentioned.
Muslims, however, maintain the Sikhs forcibly took over the mosque, which was functional, after they came to power in Lahore following the demise of the Mughal Empire.