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Pakistan court jails 3 men for vandalising Gurdwara Nankana Sahib

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan announced up to two years imprisonment to three men for vandalising Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Punjab province on Wednesday.

Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, also known as Gurdwara Janam Asthan, is a site near Lahore where the first Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev, was born.

In January 2020, a violent mob attacked the gurdwara, pelted stones and threatened to destroy it to build an Islamic shrine there.

“On Tuesday a Lahore”s ATC handed down two years jail term to prime accused Imran Chishti and imposed a fine of 10,000 Pakistani Rupees. Two other accused – Muhammad Salman and Muhammad Ahmed – were convicted for six months. However, four other accused were acquitted for want of evidence,” a court official told PTI.

All the suspects were present in the court when the sentence was announced. Strict security measures were taken to handle any protest by the religious elements in the wake of their conviction.

Chishti, a government employee working in the Fisheries Department, and other suspects were arrested under terrorism and blasphemy charges following the attack on the gurdwara last year.

They faced charges under sections 295A, 290, 291, 341,506, 148 and 149 of Pakistan Penal Code and 7-ATA (anti-terrorism act).

According to the FIR, Chishti had incited a mob in the name of religion. He wanted to settle his family issue and created a law-and-order situation in the Nankana city.

Police said Chishti had deliberately misled Muslims against the Sikhs for his “family matter”.

Convict Chishti is the elder brother of Mohammad Hassan, who married a teenage Sikh girl, Jagjit Kaur, after allegedly abducting and converting her to Islam.

The Muslims and Sikhs of Nankana Sahib, some 80kms from Lahore, had a face-off over the matter.

Chishti had claimed that Hassan has been beaten up by police for “lawfully and consensually” marrying the daughter of the gurdwara”s granthi.

Kaur has been living in Darul Aman (government shelter house) in Lahore. Her new name is Ayesha. She has reportedly refused to convert back and return to her house.

Hassan has been pressured by police and authorities to divorce her.

India had strongly condemned the incident of vandalism at the revered gurdwara and called upon the Pakistan government to take immediate steps to ensure the safety and security of the Sikh community there.

(With PTI inputs)

www.indiatoday.in

India Today

India Today is a weekly Indian English-language news magazine published by Living Media India Limited. It is the most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, India Today launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the DailyO.

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