Amid fury over Nankana Sahib attack, BJP uses it to justify Citizenship Amendment Act

Delhi BJP workers stage a protest outside the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on January 4, 2019 against the attack on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Parties across political lines on Saturday condemned Friday’s mob attack on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

While the ruling BJP said the incident justified its decision to bring in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Opposition leaders called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government to take up the issue with Pakistan to ensure the safety of the shrine and pilgrims.

‘Continuing persecution’

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi described the incident as ‘reprehensible’ and said ‘love and mutual respect’ were the antidotes to bigotry that knows no border.

At a press conference held at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, party leader Meenakshi Lekhi said the attack on the gurdwara at the birthplace of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Devji, was symbolic of the continuing persecution of the minorities in Pakistan.


Congress president Sonia Gandhi urged the government “to immediately take up the issue with Pakistani authorities to ensure security for the pilgrims and for the holy shrine to prevent any future attacks”.

“The government of India should also press for immediate registration of case, arrest and action against the culprits,” she said.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which manages the affairs of all gurdwaras, asked the Pakistan government to take stern action against those responsible for the attack and decided to send a delegation to take stock of the situation.

‘CAA timely’

“Pakistan has proved that the CAA is a timely and right decision,” Ms. Lekhi said.

“The attack in Nankana Sahib should make those sitting in Shaheen Bagh and in the Kerala Assembly” understand the “importance of the CAA,” she said, referring to the anti-CAA protests in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and the resolution passed by the Kerala Assembly not to implement the law.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also condemned the attack. She said, “We condemn the incident of violence at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. This is unacceptable. Humanity comes above all else.”

“Whatever happens subsequently will be dealt with subsequently,” she said in response to a query from The Hindu on refugees who may have fled to India after December 31, 2014, the cut off date according to the CAA.

The former Congress chief, while condemning the attack, sought to convey a subtle message about ‘bigotry’ that transcends borders.

“The attack on Nankana Sahab is reprehensible & must be condemned unequivocally . Bigotry is a dangerous, age old poison that knows no borders. Love + Mutual Respect + Understanding is its only known antidote,” tweeted Mr Gandhi soon after Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal questioned his silence over the attack.

“Cong leader @RahulGandhi’s refusal to condemn stoning of #GurdwaraNankanaSahib & threat to the very existence of holy shrine reveals his anti-Sikh face. Rahul working overtime to mislead ppl on #CAA but has no time to take on Pak & expose atrocities it's committing against Sikhs,” Ms. Harsimrat Kaur Badal has tweeted.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri shared a video of the mob outside the Nankana Sahib gurdwara on Twitter and said: “Murderous mob which laid siege to Sri Nankana Sahib has also threatened to change the name of this holiest of holy places to Ghulam-e-Mustafa. Persecution of minorities in Pakistan is for real. Do those opposed to CAA still need more proof? (sic),”

In Chandigarh, the SGPC chief said they would be sending a delegation to meet with Punjab Governor and Chief Minister in Pakistan and urge them to ensure the safety of Sikhs.

Amid fury over Nankana Sahib attack, BJP uses it to justify Citizenship Amendment Act

“Pakistan government should take an immediate and strict action against all those who were involved in this condemnable act of attacking the historic gurdwara. We have decided to send a four member delegation to Pakistan, which will asses the ground situation there,” said SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal.

He said that the management committee of Gurdwara Nankana Sahib informed the SGPC that the situation is presently normal.

On January 3, the situation had turned very tense after a mob led by the family of a Muslim man, who had married a Sikh teenage girl, hurled stones at the gurudwara, a holy shrine considered to be the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev.

“We will also take up this matter with the United Nations,” Mr. Longowal told reporters.

Condemning the attack, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the issue with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. “This is a despicable act and it is the Pakistan government’s primary human, moral and Constitutional duty to ensure the safety of Sikhs in the country,” Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a statement.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too condemned the attack and said, “We condemn the incident of violence at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. This is unacceptable. Humanity comes above all else”.

“This is a shameful situation. Pakistani authorities can & should curb these vandals. I appeal to the Pak Govt to treat the defenceless pilgrims with humanity,” tweeted Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

Senior leaders and Punjab legislators of the Aam Aadmi Party — Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Manjit Singh Bilaspur and Kulwant Singh Pandori — also demanded immediate intervention of Mr. Modi in the incident. In a joint statement, the leaders said India should exert pressure and expose expose the deep-rooted conspiracy behind the act. “It was a condemnable act on the part of certain divisive forces, out to spreading communal poison among the minority Hindu-Sikh community living in Pakistan,”the statement said.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had also appealed to Mr. Khan to intervene.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 7:24:48 AM |

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