Pakistan's Sikh community tense over holy book burning

Sikh protesters stage sit-in protest in Pakistan parliament over alleged burning of holy book

Pakistan's Sikh community tense over holy book burning

World Bulletin/News Desk

Pakistan’s minority Sikh community protested the alleged burning of their religious text when they charged past barricades and staged a sit-in at the parliament Friday. 

The Sikh protesters also assembled in the capital, from different parts of the country, to protest against attacks on temples in the southern Shikarpur and Larkana districts in the past week.

"Our Gurdwaras (temples) are being attacked, and copies of Guru Granth (holy book) are being burned for the last one year but the government has totally failed to contain these incidents," Sikh leader Gopal Singh Chawla said while addressing the protesters. He said that six incidents of vandalism in Sikh temples had occurred in the past year in southern Sindh province.

Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, the leader of the Senate -- parliament's upper house -- met the protesters and assured them the government would bring the culprits to justice.

Blasphemy of any prophet or religion and sacrilege of holy books are punishable crimes under the country’s blasphemy act, which could range from imprisonment to capital punishment.

Sardar Ramesh Singh, a Sikh leader from Sindh province, told the Anadolu Agency that a recent attack seemed linked to a similar attack involving local Hindu youths in Shikarpur district last year.

"I cannot say who is involved in fresh incidents but they began from Shikarpur last year," he said. "We are not blaming any community or religion for these attacks. We just want that whoever is involved in that should be taken to task."

There are between 35,000 and 40,000 Sikhs in Pakistan, making them one of the country's smallest minorities. They mostly live in the Muslim-majority country's northeastern Punjab, and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Hindus are the second-largest minority after Christians, consisting 2 percent of the total 180 million population.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Mayıs 2014, 17:36