Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mount pressure on the Pakistan government to launch a "thorough probe" into the destruction of the centuries-old Guru Nanak Palace in Pakistan's Narowal recently. He also offered his government's assistance in getting the monument rebuilt if the centre was able to get Islamabad's permission for the same.
Captain Amarinder Singh's appeal came days after a media report cited how a portion of the historical monument in Pakistan's Punjab province was demolished by a group of vandals, who then went on to sell its priceless windows and doors. The four-storey Guru Nanak Palace, built over four centuries ago, also had pictures of the first Sikh guru and various Hindu rulers.
The Chief Minister, in his letter to PM Modi, requested that he urge "the Pakistan government to probe the wanton destruction of the property in question and bring all the people associated with the unfortunate act" to justice. He also demanded that the centre impress upon Pakistan the need to preserve all Sikh heritage monuments in an "institutionalised manner" to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
In a separate press statement, Captain Amarinder Singh said the shocking incident had hurt the sentiments of Sikhs across the world at a time when they were preparing to celebrate Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary. He also offered the Punjab government's help to rebuild the property if Pakistan grants permission for the same.
News agency PTI has quoted local residents as saying that the Guru Nanak Palace was demolished by a group of vandals "in connivance with Pakistan's Auqaf Department", which is actually supposed to safeguard monuments such as these. The structure originally consisted of 16 rooms, each having at least three doors and four ventilators.
India and Pakistan are already in the process of jointly constructing a corridor linking the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak, in Kartarpur across the Pakistan border. Officials from both sides held a meeting to discuss modalities of the project recently.
Although tensions had erupted between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack in January, both the governments confirmed that the Kartarpur corridor project will not be affected. It is set to open in November.
(With inputs from PTI)
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