On Saturday, several groups of Sikhs staged a protest outside the Pakistani embassy in New Delhi to condemn the attack on Nanak Saheb, a shrine at the birthplace of the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak. They have asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the issue with his Pakistani counterpart to protect the religious minorities in that country.
A mob had gathered outside the Kartarpur shrine and raised communal and hateful slogans and pelted the shrine with stones. An unknown number of pilgrims were inside it when the mob attacked it. The mob was led by the family of Mohammad Hassan, the young man who allegedly abducted a Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur.
#WATCH An angry mob shouts anti-Sikh slogans outside Nankana Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan's Punjab. Earlier stones were pelted at the Gurdwara led by the family of a boy who had allegedly abducted a Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur, daughter of the Gurdwara's pathi. (Earlier visuals) pic.twitter.com/xyNkhsrhR9— ANI (@ANI) January 3, 2020
In a statement late on Friday, Indian External Affairs Ministry had sought strong action against the troublemakers, who had sought "desecration of the holy Gurudwara and attacked members of the minority Sikh community”.
India strongly condemns vandalism at the holy Nankana Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan and calls upon Pakistan to take immediate steps to ensure the safety, security and well being of the Sikh community. https://t.co/Nx1317xQ1T pic.twitter.com/dFykWJa2xP— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) January 3, 2020
Islamabad however, claimed the incident was painted as a communal issue. In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said, “Attempts to paint this incident as a communal issue are patently motivated. Most importantly, the Gurdwara remains untouched and undamaged. All insinuations to the contrary, particularly the claims of acts of 'desecration and destruction' of the holy place, are not only false but also mischievous.”
Though access to the shrine was difficult for the Indian Sikh community due to tensions between the two countries, New Delhi and Islamabad had joined hands to develop a corridor to give access to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, as is the Gurudwara known. It is located about 4 kilometres from the international border and is believed to have been built at the site, where Guru Nanak died in the 16th century.