Raising voices: Sikhs protest against alleged desecration of holy book in India

Published: October 19, 2015
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Members of Sikh community protesting at Karachi Press Club against desecration of their holy book in Lahore on October 18, 2015. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD AZEEM

Members of Sikh community protesting at Karachi Press Club against desecration of their holy book in Lahore on October 18, 2015. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD AZEEM

KARACHI: Members of the Sikh community protested outside the Karachi Press Club on Sunday against the alleged desecration in India of their holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.

A few days ago, the alleged desecration of the sacred book provoked widespread protests in North India, resulting in several injuries as the police   used tear gas to disperse the protesters. Members of the community, which included a large number of young people along with adults, appealed to the government of Pakistan on Sunday to condemn the incident at the diplomatic level.

“Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians are all brothers! Stop oppressing Sikhs in India!” shouted the protesters.

Read: Religious festival: Rakhi celebrations end at Panja Sahib

The patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Sikh Council, Sardar Ramesh, said this was not the first time the sentiments of the Sikh community had been hurt. “We condemn the incident of desecration and the brutality of the police that followed,” he said. “We, together with all the other minority communities, condemn this.”

Ramesh said that Sikhs are peace-loving people and their religion also preaches peace. “There is no religion in the world that preaches violence,” he said while speaking to The Express Tribune. “We don’t know who these people are who use such tactics in the name of religion. We want the UN to play its role and appeal to secretary-general Ban Ki Moon to take notice.”

Interfaith Commission for Peace and Harmony representative Allama Muhammad Ahsan Siddiqui cited the example of the desecration of the Holy Quran when the Sikh community of Pakistan stood by their Muslim brothers. “When the sentiments of the Muslim community were hurt, our Sikh brothers stood by us,” he said. “For this particular incident, we demand the government of Pakistan to pressure their Indian counterpart against the oppression of minorities, whether they are Sikhs or Muslims.”

Referring to incidents of Muslim victimisation in Burma, human rights activist Akhtar Balouch said that such incidents of violence against minorities have become an international concern. “Such practices are no longer restricted to one country. In fact, a separate human rights platform should be made to address the concerns of such people.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.

 

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