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Sikh Shrine In Lahore 'taken Over By Hooligans'


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http://newspostindia.com/report-12034

Sikh Shrine In Lahore 'taken Over By Hooligans'

TUESDAY 21ST OF AUGUST 2007

An 18th century Sikh shrine in Naolakha Bazaar here has been 'taken over by a group hooligans' and the government is 'hesitating to take action' against the Muslims who have locked the Sikhs out, Daily Times said Tuesday.

It said the government's action was 'almost like the way Islamabad hesitated over the Lal Masjid affair,' and asked if President Pervez Musharraf was 'aware of the potential danger in this development.

'In an editorial, the newspaper urged Lt. Gen. (rtd.) Zulfiqar Ali Khan to 'act without delay.' A failure on his part, it warned, could prompt the Muslim clerics opposed to the government to 'escalate the incident into a national crisis.'

'Is President Musharraf aware of the potential danger in this development?' the4 editorial asked.

The shrike in the heart of Lahore is under the control of The Evacuee Trust Property Board (EPTB).

The newspaper did not explain how Gen. Khan, a former chief of the Water and power Development Authority (WAPDA) that deal with development of water supply, is connected with the shrine.

The newspaper said that the 'hooligans' had locked the Sikh devotees out and had painted Islamic motifs. They claim that the shrine was originally the 'tomb of one Pir Kaku Shah, a claim not supported by the local Muslim community.'

The Sikh temple in Lahore's Naulakha Bazaar is the remains of Bhai Taro Singh who was known to be a patron of the poor. He died in 1745, harassed by a local ruler. The Sikh community built a temple in his honour which is now in the custody of the EPTBas alien property.

'Whatever the facts, General Khan should take no more time in deciding the matter unless he thinks the Sikh shrine is no longer evacuee property after 60 years,' the newspaper observed.

The plea for avoiding 'Lal Masjid-like situation' was a reference to the military-led operation last month at the controversial mosque where 167 people died and many injured in the process of evacuating Muslim devotees and students, both boys and girls.

The military action, taken after nearly six months' siege, earned praise for Musharraf among the world community and the liberals at home, but has angered the conservatives and the clergy, leading to several suicide attacks.

Learb more about Bhai Taru Singh

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhai_Taru_Singh

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http://www.newkerala.com/july.php?action=f...ws&id=55136

Muslims groups occupy Sikh Bhai Taro Singh Jee temple in Lahore

Lahore, Aug 20 :

The ownership of Bhai Taro Singh Jee temple in Lahore's Naulakha Bazaar has become the centre of a confrontation between the Sikhs and Muslim hooligan groups, which have allegedly taken over the temple's ownership.

The Sikh community has alleged that local Muslim hooligans, who are getting support of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), have taken control over the temple and have debarred them from entering inside it.

Representatives of the Sikh community said that the hooligans had stopped them from entering the premises for the past two months.

Muslims first prayed for saint, Pir Shah Kaku, and then started offering Asr and Maghrib prayers and started holding Quranic mehfils at the temple, the Sikh groups said.

According to Daily Times, Sikhs' religious symbols has been removed from the temple and Islamic slogans of 'Ya Allah' and 'Ya Rehmatul Alimeen' had replaced them. A plaque giving details of the pir's identity had also been put up on one of the walls.

The daily also spoke to the leader of the occupants of the temple, Sohail Butt, who said that they have taken the step (to occupy the temple) in their personal capacity "for the welfare of the Muslims community."

He admitted that the former guard of the temple had seen a dream where Pir Shah Kaku "had urged him to keep the Sikhs away from the temple".

He added that they are trying to ascertain the pir's date of death, and "once done we will hold a yearly urs in celebration."

Meanwhile, Sikh groups said that they were protesting against hooligans' activities and have urged the ETPB, but to no avail.

"After the temple's dome was painted green, the committee wrote to the then ETPB additional secretary Izharul Hassan against the violation of the temple's sanctity, said Dr. Mampal Singh.

He alleged that hooligans had claimed the shrine for themselves and that the ETPB had told the committee it would resolve the issue within a month.

"They haven't done anything yet and the hooligans are tightening their grip on our worship place,' he added.

However, EPTB refutes allegations levelled by Sikh groups.

ETPB chairman Lt Gen ® Zulfiqar Ali Khan told the daily that the trustee is in charge of the temple and Muslims go there to pray for the saint, while Sikhs go there for their worship.

"There is no plaque of the saint or other plaques inscribed with Islamic slogans inside the temple. Vested quarters are trying to put a negative touch to the issue, but ETPB won't allow them to do so," he said, adding that they are trying to maintain a status quo.

The locals in the area have disputed the claims of the hooligans stating it is not authentic.

"They want to make money from the devotees and in this process have violated the sanctity of Sikhs worship place," a local said.

--- ANI

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Is there any release from PSGPC or any other Sikh groups in Pakistan? There is still a Kharkoo base in Pakistan with the likes of Wadhava Singh and others who seeked refuge in Pakistan. Anyone able to find how the Sikhs in Pakistan are dealing with the issue and what urgent support we can give from over here?

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Is there any release from PSGPC or any other Sikh groups in Pakistan? There is still a Kharkoo base in Pakistan with the likes of Wadhava Singh and others who seeked refuge in Pakistan. Anyone able to find how the Sikhs in Pakistan are dealing with the issue and what urgent support we can give from over here?

this is false news and part of the Hindu propaganda their is press release coming tommorow by psgpc explaining and clearing this issue

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There's some history to this situation going back to 1935-40. See below.

http://www.sikhcybermuseum.org.uk/history/ShahidGanj1935.htm

Shahidganj Agitation

Tussle between Sikh and Muslim Communities (1935-40)

Marked culmination of the tussle between Sikh and Muslim communities in the Punjab for the possession of a sacred site in Lahore upon which stood Gurdwara Shahidganj (shahid = martyr, ganj = hoard, treasure) in memory of Sikh martyrs of the eighteenth century and which the Muslims claimed as having been the location of an historic Islamic site. The Gurdwara is located in Landa Bazar midway between the Lahore railway station and the Delhi Gate at the site known earlier as Nakhas (Persian nakhkhas, meaning a marketplace for the sale of captives, horses and cattle taken as war prize). This was the place where thousands of Sikhs, including the celebrated Bhai Taru Singh, and about 3,000 captives of the Chhota Ghallughara campaign (1746) were executed or tortured to death. Here Mu'in ul-Mulk (Mir Mannu, in Sikh chronicles), governor of Lahore during 1748-53, raised a building shaped like a mosque sitting where the muftis, Muslim judges, gave their summary judgements after giving their victims a straight choice between conversion to Islam and death. Almost invariably the victims chose the latter. Close by was the place where Sikh women and children were kept in narrow cells to meet slow death through hard labour and starvation.

The Nakhas, long soaked with the blood of martyrs, became for the Sikhs a sacred spot and, after they came into power in Punjab during the 1760's, they established a gurdwara there which they named Shahidganj. Since then it had remained in the possession of the Sikhs as a sacred place. Soon after the annexation of the Punjab to the British empire, one Nur Muhammad filed a case in 1850 for the reversion of the "mosque" to him as its rightful owner, but it was turned down as the court was not convinced of the genuineness of the claim. Similar claims raised in 1854 and 1883 were also dismissed on the ground that the place was no longer a mosque but a gurdwara. According to the Punjab Government Gazette Notification No 275, dated 22 December 1927, the shrine was listed as Gurdwara Shahidganj Bhai Taru Singh. The Muslims again contested the Sikhs' claim to their "mosque" but the Sikh Gurdwara Tribunal, established under the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, in its judgement dated 20 January 1930 determined that the place was the property of Gurdwara Bhai Taru Singh.

The Muslims went in appeal, but the Lahore High Court in 1934 upheld the verdict of the Gurdwara Tribunal. The local Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Lahore, got possession of the Shahidganj in March 1935 and decided to replace the old mosque-like building with a new one. The bulk of the clearing work having been completed by 7 June 1935, the demolition of the old building was taken in hand on 8 June. It continued uninterrupted for 20 days, but on 29 June a Muslim mob tried to enter the premises and, although they were successfully checked by the inmates, the Deputy Commissioner of Lahore, Mr S. Pratab, stayed further demolition. The political climate in the country was already charged with communal passions aroused by the Communal Award of 1932. The Sikhs, considering that, after the decision of the courts in their favour, the reconstruction of the Gurdwara was their natural and legal right, resumed the demolition on 8 July despite the stay order. This was resented by the Muslims, but the government did not use force to prevent the demolition, for the reason that the "Sikhs in taking this action were not committing any criminal offence." In fact Sikh leaders had asked many Akalis to leave the city and sent out instructions to different centres not to send any more volunteers to Lahore. The tension did mount, but Lahore remained free from any communal incidents. On 2 December the government passed a general restrictive order under Arms Act, 1878, banning the carrying of swords and kirpan. The Sikhs resented the restriction on kirpan which was, one of their religious symbols, and launched an agitation against the ban on 1 January 1936. The ban was withdrawn on 31 January 1936.

Meanwhile, the Muslims had filed, on 30 October 1935, a fresh suit for the possession of the Shahidganj "Mosque". Though the suit was dismissed on 25 May 1936, an appeal was filed in the High Court. The Shahidganj issue temporarily receded into the background partly owing to the impending elections to the Punjab Legislative Assembly under the Government of India Act, 1935. In April 1937 the Unionist party representing sections of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs formed the ministry under Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, who claiming his ministry to be neutral in character, made it clear to the Muslims that their claim in the Shahidganj case could not be accepted arbitrarily. He promised to strive for an amicable settlement of the problem and appealed to the parties to the dispute not to do anything which might worsen the communal situation in the Punjab. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, an elected body representing the Sikh people, unanimously passed a resolution at its meeting held on 10-11 March 1938 affirming that no compromise was possible on what it considered a vital religious issue. Meanwhile, the legal battle continued. The Muslims' appeal filed in the High Court was dismissed on 26 January 1938, and a further appeal to the judicial Committee of the Privy Council met with the same fate on 2 May 1940. This virtually ended the dispute.

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Lahore, August 21

An 18th century Sikh shrine in Naolakha Bazaar in Lahore has been “taken over by a group of hooligans” and the government is “hesitating to take action” against the Muslims who have locked the Sikhs out, Daily Times said on Tuesday.

It said the government’s action was “almost like the way Islamabad hesitated over the Lal Masjid affair,” and asked if President Pervez Musharraf was “aware of the potential danger in this development.”

In an editorial, the newspaper urged Lt Gen (rtd) Zulfiqar Ali Khan to “act without delay.” A failure on his part, it warned, could prompt the Muslim clerics opposed to the government to “escalate the incident into a national crisis.”

“Is President Musharraf aware of the potential danger in this development?” the editorial asked.

The shrine in the heart of Lahore is under the control of The Evacuee Trust Property Board (EPTB).

The newspaper did not explain how General Khan, a former chief of the Water and power Development Authority (WAPDA) that deals with development of water supply, is connected with the shrine.

The newspaper said that the ‘hooligans’ had locked the Sikh devotees out and had painted Islamic motifs. They claim that the shrine was originally the “tomb of one Pir Kaku Shah, a claim not supported by the local Muslim community.”

The Sikh temple in Lahore’s Naulakha Bazaar is the remains of Bhai Taro Singh who was known to be a patron of the poor. He died in 1745, harassed by a local ruler. The Sikh community built a temple in his honour which is now in the custody of the EPTB as alien property.

“Whatever the facts, General Khan should take no more time in deciding the matter unless he thinks the Sikh shrine is no longer evacuee property after 60 years,” the newspaper observed.

The plea for avoiding “Lal Masjid-like situation” was a reference to the military-led operation last month at the controversial mosque where 167 people died and many injured in the process of evacuating Muslim devotees and students, both boys and girls.

The military action, taken after nearly six months’ siege, earned praise for Musharraf among the world community and the liberals at home, but has angered the conservatives and the clergy, leading to several suicide attacks. — IANS

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070822/main8.htm

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Is there any release from PSGPC or any other Sikh groups in Pakistan? There is still a Kharkoo base in Pakistan with the likes of Wadhava Singh and others who seeked refuge in Pakistan. Anyone able to find how the Sikhs in Pakistan are dealing with the issue and what urgent support we can give from over here?

this is false news and part of the Hindu propaganda their is press release coming tommorow by psgpc explaining and clearing this issue

Please post the press release as soon as it is released. I have googled the for the press release from PSGPC but not found anything yet. The only press release today is from the Indian News Premier Agency.

http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0...E5?OpenDocument

Statement demanded on seizure of Sikh shrine in Pakistan

New Delhi, Aug 22 (PTI) Members in the Rajya Sabha today asked the Government to immediately take up with Pakistan the issue of capturing of the 300-year-old Sikh Gurudwara in Lahore.

Raising the matter during Zero Hour, Tarlochan Singh (Independent) said members of the Sikh community were agitated over the matter.

"The Government of India should take up the matter with Pakistan and ensure that the Gurudwara is returned to the Sikhs," the former Minorities Commission Chairman said.

Congress member M S Gill wanted the External Affairs Minister to look into the matter and make a statement in the House. PTI

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http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive...7/21/c8871.html

World Sikh Organization raises Sikh Shrine occupation issue with Pakistan President

OTTAWA, Aug. 21 /CNW Telbec/

- The World Sikh Organization has learned of

the occupation of Gurdwara Bhai Taru Singh at Naulakha Bazaar, Lahore by

certain "hooligans". These individuals have also denied Sikh visitors access

to the Gurdwara Sahib and have apparently defaced the shrine as well.

The situation is of great concern to the Sikh community worldwide.

Pakistan is home to many historical Sikh shrines such as the birthplace of

Guru Nanak Sahib at Nankana Sahib, Punja Sahib at Hassan Abdal and many

others. Thousands of Sikhs come every year to worship at these shrines. The

Evacuee Trust Property Board has been looking after Sikh Shrines in Pakistan

for 60 years now. It is of great importance to the Sikh community worldwide

that Sikh shrines continue to be protected and access is ensured for all those

who come to pay their respects.

The WSO has written to President Musharraf of Pakistan asking him to

intervene and ensure that Gurdwara Bhai Taru Singh be restored to the Sikhs

and the "hooligans" be prevented from re-entering. The WSO trusts that the

Government of Pakistan will move quickly to resolve the situation and thus

help to build an even stronger relationship with the Sikh community worldwide

WSO International President Ram Raghbir Singh Chahal said, "Sikhs accord

respect to all religions, and in turn expect that their religion be respected

and the Sikh Shrines be protected."

For further information: Jasbeer Singh, Media Relations, (780) 457-3333,

Cell. (780) 235-6000, magmaint@hotmail.com; Amanpreet Singh Bal, (905)

567-1795, Cel. (647) 224-0000, asinghbal@gmail.com

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According to ***anti-sikh website not allowed***., Delhi Gurdwra Comittee have stated that the claims are false. As per Delhi Gurdwara Committee, two SIKH factions are fighting for control and one faction called in Goonda reinforcements.

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http://newspostindia.com/report-12314

Indian Sikhs Visiting Lahore Over Gurdwara Row

THURSDAY 23RD OF AUGUST 2007 A delegation of Indian Sikhs is planning a visit here following the takeover of the Bhai Taro Singh Gurdwara by a group that claims it to be part of a Muslim saint's shrine.

The delegation from the Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee will probe the matter, said the Daily Times quoting reliable sources.

Meanwhile, as the dispute snowballs, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) in Lahore has ordered the demolition of 18 shops close to the gurdwara to provide a separate entrance to the shrine of Pir Kaku Shah, a Muslim saint whose tomb lies in the Sikh temple premises.

The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee chairman Bishin Singh has said that they would hold a meeting within a week to discuss the issue.

Sohail Butt, the leader of the group occupying the gurdwara, has threatened to resist if the government and Sikhs tried to stop them from entering the shrine.

He said followers of the saint have painted the temple dome green and started offering evening prayers.

They have also started reciting the holy Quran in the shrine on Thursdays. He said the followers had urged the government to allow them to visit the shrine daily, instead of Thursdays only.

The gurdwara is situated near Naulakha Bazaar here and has been maintained by the ETPB.

According to an insider, the occupants took over the gurdwara after a former gatekeeper of the shrine claimed to have received the 'divine' instruction from Pir Kaku Shah. The gatekeeper has since been transferred by ETPB.

Sikhs are a small minority in Pakistan, where a number of shrines belonging to their faith are mainly located in Punjab and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

In an editorial this week, the Daily Times sought early official intervention to 'evict hooligans' who it said had 'occupied' the gurdwara.

It urged an early end to the dispute and warned that it could become 'as explosive as Lal Masjid' -- a reference to the military assault on the Islamabad based mosque and seminary complex in which over 100 people were killed.

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