Sikhs accused Pak body of desecrating Gurdwara

Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassanabdal is one of the holiest places for Sikhs.

Lahore: The Evacuee Trust Property Board, the custodian of their religious places in Pakistan, has been accused by the Sikh community permitting cooking of prohibited meat in the holy Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassanabdal.

The Gurdwara in Hassanabdal is one of the holiest places for the Sikhs living in Pakistan and even in India.

"We want a FIR lodged against the ETPB over this matter," Sikh community leader Sardar Bishan Singh told the `Express Tribune` daily newspaper.

Bishan accused the Evacuee Trust Property Board, the custodian of their religious places, of trying to ignore the issue rather than taking steps against those responsible.

"We demand that an FIR be lodged and the culprits who cooked meat in our Gurdwara be penalised," he said.

"Meat, eggs and tobacco are prohibited in Sikhism like pork is in Islam," he said.

"The caretaker, along with local Muslim staff, cooked meat in Gurdwara Panja Sahib on Sunday," said a member of Gurdwara Panja Sahib Sewadar Society Sardar Pretam Singh.

"It is unfortunate for Sikhs that custodians of their religious places, who are almost all Muslims, have been involved in violation of their faith," said Bishon Singh.

Pretam Singh added that he caught one staff member red-handed with meat in the Gurdwara`s kitchen.

"When I complained to the caretaker of the Gurdwara, Memrooz Khan, he rebuffed my plea," he said.

ETPB`s additional secretary and deputy administrator then conducted an inquiry and transferred all staff from the Gurdwara.

"We demanded that all employees involved in the act should at least be suspended, but ETPB refused to do so," Bishan said.

Sardar Bishon Singh said that anyone who desecrates a religious place should be tried under section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, he added.

ETPB`s deputy administrator Faraz Abbas said he was not sure whether anyone cooked meat at the Gurdwara, but on complaints by the community, all staff has been transferred and new people have been appointed.


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