In a chilling display of religious intolerance, a hostile crowd burst into the sacred space of the Sukkhur Gurdwara in Pakistan, disrupting a peaceful kirtan, a Sikh spiritual ritual of singing hymns. The audacious act, marked by prejudice and lack of understanding, didn’t stop there – the perpetrators displayed further disrespect by mishandling the revered Sikh scripture, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
This unsettling event, a stark contrast to the gurdwara’s historic legacy of over a century, follows closely on the heels of the heartbreaking murder of a Sikh young man in Peshawar, just three days prior. The incidents together form a worrisome pattern of escalating intolerance against the Sikh community.
A viral video on the internet shows a group of local Sikhs and Hindus at a police station, alleging the police had apprehended the offenders, only to release them shortly after without levying any charges. This has led to an outcry over perceived institutional apathy.
The spiritual singer, or Ragi, of the gurdwara, Ajay Singh, was in the midst of the kirtan when chaos ensued. “Suddenly, the loudspeaker stopped during the kirtan, instigating disorder in the gurdwara. I was warned to halt the singing,” Ajay reported. His account painted a grim picture of a peaceful sanctuary desecrated by unwarranted intrusion.
Ajay conveyed his deep distress about the episode, noting that the ancient Gurdwara, a sanctuary of prayer for generations, had not experienced such an encroachment before. The fact that individuals are now audacious enough to disrupt their spiritual practice is a cause for concern, he said.
He further expressed his disappointment with the authorities, criticizing their seeming lack of urgency to investigate the matter. The absence of a First Information Report (FIR) and the premature release of the culprits have added to a growing sense of disillusionment within the community.
Reflecting on the broader societal implications, Ajay expressed his sadness, stating, “This is not the Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned, one which promised religious freedom for its minorities.” This incident thus stands not just as an affront to the Sikh community but also a contradiction of Pakistan’s foundational principles.