Many thronged the streets leading to the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi's Chanakyapuri on Saturday (Photo Credit: ANI)
Hundreds of people thronged the streets leading to the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi's Chanakyapuri on Saturday and protested against the mob attack and stone-pelting on devotees at the historic Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, in Lahore.
The protesters carried banners and placards reading "Shame on Pakistan" and "We will expose the real face of Pakistan". Some of the banners and placards urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to protect the gurdwara, one of the holiest sites in Sikhism.
"Double standard of Imran Khan, Sikhs are being tortured in Pakistan," read one of the placards.
Police had to barricade the roads to prevent the protesters - belonging to BJP, Congress, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and other organisations - from reaching the high commission.
A huge posse of police personnel was deployed and water cannon kept on standby, a police official said. The protestors were stopped near Chanakyapuri police station.
The protest by DSGMC and Akali Dal members was held at around 1 pm near Chanakyapuri, an affluent neighbourhood and diplomatic enclave in the city. Sikh community members also submitted a memorandum to the Pakistan High Commission, said DSGMC president Manjinder S Sirsa.
BJP and Congress members stood on either side of a road there and raised slogans against Pakistan and its prime minister.
"It has not happened for the first time. They abduct our children and convert them. Pakistan should put an end to such incidents. We know how to respond," Congress leader Krishna Tirath said.
Party leader Alka Lamba said India thanked Pakistan when the neighbouring country opened the doors for Indian Sikhs to visit the Kartarpur gurdwara on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
"Some anti-social elements attacked Nankana Sahib Gurdwara. We expect the Pakistan prime minister to break his silence on the incident," she said.
"Yesterday, a mob of Jihadis attacked Nankana Sahib Gurdwara due to which our Sikh brothers and sisters are in terror. The CAA has been framed to save such minorities from persecution in Pakistan," Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said.
He also took a political shot at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying the AAP chief has become "completely insensitive" in opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Kejriwal also deplored the mob attack on the gurdwara and said atrocities on Sikhs cannot be tolerated. "The attack on Nankana Sahib is a cowardly and shameful incident. Nankana Sahib is the centre of faith of crores of Sikhs. Atrocities on Sikhs living there cannot be tolerated," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
BJP national secretary Sardar RP Singh too slammed Pakistan, saying this was not an isolated incident of Sikhs being attacked in that country.
"Previously, a daughter of Granthi of Nankana Sahib was abducted and converted to Islam and now the jihadis have pelted stones on Nankana Sahib Gurdwara and tried to kill Sikh brothers and sisters due to which they are very much terrorised. The parties which are opposing CAA are unable to see how the persons engaged in protecting their religion are being persecuted.
"The politics of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party is based on caste and religion. They feel the vote of a particular community will make them victorious. It appears from their statements they are in support of atrocities on minority communities in Pakistan and do not want them to become Indian citizens," he said.
On Friday, the External Affairs Ministry condemned the "wanton acts of destruction and desecration" at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib and urged Pakistan to take immediate steps to ensure safety and welfare of the Sikh community. It also said that members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of violence in the holy city of Nankana Sahib.
Pakistan has rejected reports the gurdwara was desecrated, saying it remains "untouched and undamaged".
During the protest in Delhi, Manjeet Singh Bakshi, a protestor, said, "Whatever they have done is condemnable. The prime minister of Pakistan should condemn this and take strict action against the accused. After the death of Guru Nanak Devji, Muslims and Sikhs had distributed his 'chadar'."
Condemning the mob attack on the gurdwara, IYC president Srinivas BV said, "Pakistan is playing with our emotions and the time has come when we need to teach them a lesson."