India Protests Hagia Sophia-Like Conversion of Iconic Sikh Temple Into Mosque by Pakistan

New Delhi (Sputnik): Pakistan has remained in the headlines for its alleged conversion of Hindus and Sikhs. Now, a gurdwara (a Sikh place of worship) has also joined the list.

Making an appeal to safeguard all Sikh places of reverence, India’s Punjab Chief Amarinder Singh on Tuesday urged the Modi government to intervene to stop Pakistan’s attempt to convert a historic gurdwara into a mosque.

Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan in Pakistan’s Lahore is a historic shrine built where prominent Sikh martyr Bhai Taru Singh died. He is known to have sacrificed his life for Sikh values.

Lodging a protest, the chief minister has asked the federal government to communicate Punjab’s concerns in the “strongest terms” to the country’s neighbour. Sikhism is the most practiced faith in Punjab and the state also shares a border with Pakistan.

​Amarinder Singh’s statement comes a day after India’s Foreign Ministry lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan High Commission on the issue.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement, “The gurdwara is a place of reverence and considered sacred by the Sikh community. This incident has been viewed with grave concern in India. There have been calls for justice for the minority Sikh community in Pakistan”.

Pakistan is yet to respond to the development. India’s neighbour has often witnessed protests from religious minorities, including Sikhs and Hindus, for practicing “injustice” against them. Minorities comprise nearly 3.72% of Pakistan’s population.

Meanwhile, the incident is being compared to the likes of Turkey’s decision to convert the historic Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul – originally founded as a cathedral – back into a mosque.

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