In a disheartening turn of events, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is once again at the center of controversy, accused of violating Sikh ‘rehat maryada’ and causing distress among the Sikh community. The recent incident involves an alleged party with song and dance organized by the management of Pakistan’s Project Management Unit (PMU) near the revered Gurdwara in the Narowal district.
Unacceptable!— Jagdip Singh Kahlon (@jagdipskahlon) November 19, 2023
I strongly condemn the sacrilegious incident within the sacred premises of Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib where a party organised involving alcohol & meat. @GovtofPakistan should take swift action against all responsible people. #srikartarpursahib #sacrilege pic.twitter.com/Fj7YZBHcfH
The controversy echoes a similar incident in 2021 when a Pakistani model’s bareheaded photos within the Gurdwara complex sparked widespread criticism on social media. The model later apologized and removed the controversial images from her account.
Modelling bareheaded for ladies' attire, in the premises of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib at #KartarpurSahib in Pakistan, by a Lahorite woman, has several hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs. Further the pictures were uploaded on social media.@ImranKhanPTI @MORAisbOfficial pic.twitter.com/i5RX01kWGo— Ravinder Singh Robin ਰਵਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ رویندرسنگھ روبن (@rsrobin1) November 29, 2021
This time, the focus is on a video that has gone viral on social media, showing a party with song and dance near the PMU office on November 18. According to reports, non-vegetarian items were served openly during the event. The video captures a woman singing, accompanied by dancing participants, with a Sikh person visible in the first row of the audience.
Expressing concern over the incident, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Harjinder Singh Dhami and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Harmeet Singh Kalka have taken note of the video and its potential implications.
SGPC president Dhami emphasized that if the event occurred within the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib complex, it would constitute a violation of ‘maryada’ and Sikh sentiments, particularly in a place so closely associated with Guru Nanak Dev. Dhami expressed disappointment, stating, “The authorities should have refrained from indulging in such a kind of act as it would lead to hurting the sentiments of the global Sikh community.”
DSGMC spokesperson Manjit Singh Bhoma demanded a public apology from the organizers, emphasizing that the event took place near the PMU office, an integral part of the Gurdwara Kartarpur complex. The call for an apology underscores the seriousness with which Sikh organizations view any actions that may disrespect the sanctity of the religious site.
This incident has reignited concerns about the need for strict adherence to Sikh ‘rehat maryada’ and the responsible management of religious sites. The Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib holds immense significance for Sikhs worldwide, and any perceived disrespect is bound to evoke strong reactions from the Sikh community.
As the controversy unfolds, the global Sikh community watches closely, hopeful for swift corrective action and a renewed commitment to maintaining the sanctity of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. The incident serves as a reminder of the insensitive nature of Pakistan towards its Sikh minority, and the lack of responsibility of those entrusted with the management of sacred Sikh sites.