Persecution of minorities in Pakistan remains unabated. In the latest incident, the Islamic nation has turned Lahore-situated Gurudwara Bhai Taru Singh into a mosque. The notorious Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) is responsible for the deplorable act. ETPB officials, along with some fundamentalists have claimed that the Gurudwara is a part of previously existing mosque. This arbitrary action has outraged a large number of devotees who used to recite Guru Granth Sahib here.
The historical Gurdwara has been witnessing a dispute between the local Sikhs and Muslims for a long time. Such incidents, where religious places of minorities have been under attack in Pakistan is nothing new. Two years ago, in a similar incident, authorities had declared a Gurudwara to be a mosque. Following which, the Indian authorities had lodged a strong protest with Pakistan.
According to Sikhs, Mir Mannu, the eighteenth century Mughal governor of Lahore had ordered massacre of thousands of innocent people, including children, of their community. The community claims Mir Mannu himself later allowed them to set up a gurdwara here after they agreed to help him in the conquest of Multan.
As per Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Pakistan, there were 20 lakh Sikhs in 1947. Now, only 20 thousand are remain. Out of the 160 historical gurudwaras in Pakistan, the authorities have permitted them to use only 20 of them. Bhai Taru Singh was a sikh commander, who had died in 1745. He was fighting Mughals at that time. Sikhs had constructed the Gurudwara at the site where Taru Singh breathed his last.
On the contrary, Muslims claim Sikhs forcibly took over the working mosque, after they came to power in Lahore following fading away of Mughal Empire.