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Sunday, July 21, 2024  
14 Muharram 1446  

Religious event disrupted at Sukkur gurdwara by ‘extortionists’

Police let the three men held over disturbance go and allow time for reconciliation
A photo of worshippers in the gurdwara during prayers. Both Hindus and Sikhs pray together in the building. Photo via Jamil Mughal.
A photo of worshippers in the gurdwara during prayers. Both Hindus and Sikhs pray together in the building. Photo via Jamil Mughal.

At least four men allegedly disrupted a small religious gathering at a Sikh gurdwara in Sukkur on Thursday. The local police held the men briefly but let them go when an influential person intervened, said leaders of the minority community.

The minority leaders described the men, all from the same family, as “extortionists.”

A local official told Aaj News that the police were allowing time for reconciliation between the parties involved in a dispute that centered around an ongoing construction activity at the historical gurdwara in one of the oldest cities in the Sindh province.

The gurdwara located at Hussaini Road in Sukkur is also used by the Hindu community.

A kirtan was being performed on Thursday evening when the worshippers were accused of causing too much noise and keeping the loud speaker to a higher volume than allowed.

Gurdwara committee’s Bhagwan Das told Aaj News that the men also tried to provoke an inter-faith conflict.

 Bhagwan Das speaks to <em>Aaj News</em>
Bhagwan Das speaks to Aaj News

Reports said that the gurdwara was vandalised and worshippers threatened with dire consequences.

The worshippers complained against the harassment to Police Station Section B after the incident. They named four people from the same family, Ali Mughal, Zubair Mughal, Zafar Mughal and Mazhar Mughal, as responsible for the incident.

The four, who were accused of issuing threats and demanding money from the gurdwara, were initially detained but later released due to ‘pressure’ from a local personality, said the minority leaders.

A formal complaint was never registered.

The SHO, or head, of the Police Station Section B did not offer a comment on video but said that the men were released because Sunday has been set as a day for reconciliation. He added that if things were not sorted out by Sunday, matters would proceed as per the law.

The local Sikh and Hindu communities have now written a letter to the police asking for security to be provided to the Gurdwara, expressing a fear that an incident of the sort could happen again.

Ongoing construction at gurdwara

 The photo show construction activities at the gurdwara. Photo via Jamil Mughal.
The photo show construction activities at the gurdwara. Photo via Jamil Mughal.

Footage and images available to Aaj News show ongoing construction activities at the gurdwara.

Bhagwan Das said the three brothers, Ali, Zubair, and Mazhar Mughal, had filed a case against the gurdwara’s new construction and then began pressurising the community to to pay them money.

He said the men had already received Rs600,000 from the communities and the latest incident took place when an additional Rs100,000 were demanded.

The brothers accused the gurdwara committee of encroaching upon the street and received the money saying they were borrowing it, he said.

Das added that a similar problem had occurred last year when locals complained about noise from the gurdwara loudspeakers even though the prorgamme was held after isha prayers.

This year, Das added, they had informed the locals in advance that the prayers would begin after maghrib and end before isha.

However, two of the brother and one of their sons gathered outside the gurdwara at around 8pm and disrupted the prayers, said Das.

He added that such expressions of hate had led to religious minorities feeling unsafe in Pakistan.

He also appealed to the authorities to take notice of the incident and ensure their safety.

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Sukkur

minorities

Sikh