India on Tuesday summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires in Delhi to express concern about the “desecration of the sanctity” of the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur after a model posed bareheaded in a photo shoot there.
The gurdwara, built at the site where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, is believed to have died in 1539, is one of the holiest shrines for Sikhs.
In 2019, India and Pakistan had inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor to link Gurdwara Darbar Sahib to the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.
Last week, the woman, Sauleha, who describes herself as a digital creator on her Instagram profile, had posted photos and videos of herself at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. The pictures were also shared by a clothing brand.
Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the head of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, said in a tweet on Monday that the model’s behaviour was unacceptable. Sirsa called on the government of Pakistan to stop “the trend of treating Sri Kartarpur Sahib as picnic spot by Pakistani people”.
India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Tuesday that the Pakistani diplomat was told that the “reprehensible incident” had deeply hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community in India and across the world.
“Such continued incidents of desecration and disrespect of places of religious worship of the minority communities in Pakistan highlight the lack of respect for the faith of these communities,” Bagchi added. “We expect Pakistani authorities to sincerely investigate this matter and take action against those involved.”
The police in Pakistan have already begun an investigation into the incident, PTI reported. Usman Buzdar, the chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, where the gurdwara is located, said that action will be taken against those responsible for the photoshoot.
Meanwhile, the model who featured in the photoshoot issued an apology on Tuesday, saying that it was not her intention to hurt anyone.
“Recently I posted a picture on Instagram that was not even a part of a shoot or anything,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “I just went to Kartarpur to learn about the history and know about the Sikh community. It wasn’t done to hurt anyone’s sentiments or anything for that matter. However, if I have hurt anyone or they think that I don’t respect their culture, I am sorry.”