Lahore: Once again the land sharks in Lahore attempted to usurp the property of Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh resulting in tension between the local Sikh and Muslim communities following which the Lahore administration not only restricted entry into the religious place but also sealed the Gurdwara which evoked sharp criticism from Sikh bodies. According to reports, a controversy erupted after the Muslim clerics of the adjoining Darbar of Shah Kaku Chisti (great-great-grandson of Baba Fareed) claimed the right to the Gurdwara property which was tooth and nail opposed by the management of the Gurdwara which further escalated the tension between Sikh and Muslim groups.
Seeing the situation slipping out of hands, the Lahore administration swung into action and sealed the Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh. Giving details, Habib ur Rehman, Chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), Pakistan governments department entrusted with the responsibility of looking after and managing the properties of Sikhs and Hindus left in Pakistan following 1947 Indo-Pak partition, informed: “to avoid any untoward incident between Muslims and Sikhs, the site was taken under its control by the Lahore district administration till the dispute is resolved”.
Notably, a Muslim Mir Moonu had murdered Bhai Taru Singh in 1745. During the Sikh era, a Samadhi of Bhai Taru Singh was constructed which was close to the Darbar of Shah Kaku Chisti. Since then the land is disputed and had been creating controversies, even during the British era, causing tension between the two communities since the local Muslims claim that the land belongs to Dabrar Shah Kaku Chisti which the Sikh groups deny.
Last year in July 2021, the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was forced to not observe the anniversary of Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh at his Samadhi under the pressure of a local hardliner Muslim group who claimed the ownership right of the land of Samadhi following which PSGPC held the bhog of Akhand path at nearby Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj Singh Singhania, both Gurdwara are situated at Naulakha Bazar, Lahore.
Shiromani Akali Dal spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema tweeted “SAD strongly condemned the incident of locking of Gurdwara Shahid Ganj Bhai Taru Singh in Lahore. It has deeply hurt the sentiments of Sikhs the world over. SAD urged the GOI to take up the matter with the Pakistan government and to ensure that the control of the Sikh shrine is handed over to Sikh Sangat”. In past, there had been several incidents of grabbing of Gurdwara properties in Pakistan by ETPB in connivance with some Sikh representatives of PSGPC.
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