Lahore: The HRCP has noted with concern the barring of Sikhs from a gurdwara in Lahore and called the restriction by Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) shocking and a violation of fundamental rights.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, HRCP said, “While extremist element’s barring religious minorities from their worship places in Pakistan no longer surprises anyone, but the ETPB’s decision to deny Sikhs entry into gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh in Lahore on the eve of Shab-e-Barat is scandalous.”

Around four-year ago, a group of Muslim young men, had claimed that the gurdwara was built on the site of burial place of a Muslim saint. The ETPB had allowed both communities to observe their religious rituals according to their own beliefs at the gurdwara. But the police deployed outside the gurdwara to prevent the Sikhs from congregating to commemorate an eighteenth-century saint on July 16 because the Shab-e-Barat was to be observed two days later.

“The ETPB has no right to ask members of a religious faith to postpone rituals of their faith inside their places of worship, or to give precedence to religious rituals of one faith over another. After being turned away from the gurdwara, the Sikhs have reportedly stated that they were told by members of the extremist group that the gurdwara was now a mosque and they would no longer be allowed to bring in their musical instruments any more to observe their religious ceremony,” HRCP said.

Source: Daily Times – 20.07.2011