The Sikh community has alleged that meat, prohibited in their religion, was cooked at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassanabdal, one of the holiest places in Sikhism.
The community has accused the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), the custodian of their religious places, of trying to dump 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,” community leader Sardar Bishon Singh told The Express Tribune. “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,” Rajan Singh 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 told The Express Tribune that 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.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2011.
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