Wednesday Dec 01 2021
Web Desk

India conveys 'deep concern' over Kartarpur gurdwara photoshoot

Web Desk
A file photo of the shrine of Baba Guru Nanak Dev at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, in the Pakistani town of Kartarpur, near the Indian border, taken on November 6, 2019. Photo: AFP
A file photo of the shrine of Baba Guru Nanak Dev at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, in the Pakistani town of Kartarpur, near the Indian border, taken on November 6, 2019. Photo: AFP

  • India calls out Pakistan's charge d'affaires to convey resentment over recently surfaced Kartarpur gurdwara photo shoot.
  • Photo shoot termed "religiously hurtful" by Indian journalist on Twitter.
  • Punjab CM Buzdar takes notice of incident, seeks report from chief secretary.

NEW DELHI: India summoned on Tuesday Pakistan's charge d'affaires to convey resentment on behalf of Sikhs over the recently surfaced incident involving a Pakistani model who posed bareheaded at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.

The act was termed "religiously hurtful" by an Indian journalist on Twitter, since Sikhism requires all visitors to keep their heads covered during a visit to any gurdwara.

The journalist said the Pakistani authorities should take notice of the incident, referring to the pictures posted by a local women's attire designer on her Instagram handle.

On Tuesday, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi issued a statement, saying that Pakistan's second senior-most official was summoned to covey "deep concern at the incident of desecration of the sanctity of Gurudwara Shri Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur by a Pakistani model and a clothing brand."

"This reprehensible incident has deeply hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community in India and worldwide. 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," The News reported the statement as saying, citing an India-based news agency.

Model, clothing brand apologise

Meanwhile, the clothing brand and the model issued separate apologies over the matter.

The clothing brand responded by deleting the pictures that had sparked outrage from its social media handles.

"The pictures posted on our accounts are NOT part of any shoot done by Mannat Clothing. These pictures were provided to us by a third-party (blogger) in which they were wearing our dress. Please note that Mannat has absolutely NO role in deciding how and where the pictures were taken. However, we accept our mistake that we should not have posted this content and we apologise to every single person who was offended by this. All the holy places are very sacred to us. The pictures and posts have been removed from all our media channels. Again, we apologise wholeheartedly for hurting the public sentiment. Believe us when we say we had no such intention," an Instagram post by the designer said.

"Recently, I posted a picture on Instagram that was not even a part of a shoot or anything. 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,” the Pakistani model was quoted as saying in media reports.

“However, if I have hurt anyone or they think that I don’t respect their culture, I am sorry,” she added.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the outrage on social media and sought a report from the chief secretary, stressing that "all religions are respected in Pakistan".

"CM Punjab @UsmanAKBuzdar has taken strict notice of the incident [that] occurred at Kartarpur’s Gurdwara and asked for complete report from Chief Secretary. A thorough inquiry will be done on this incident. CM Punjab reiterated that all religions are respected in Pakistan," a statement issued by the Punjab government on his official Twitter account said.

Fawad criticises designer for using bareheaded model at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain had censured the Lahore-based dress designer and model for modelling bareheaded at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.

The pictures and videos of a model for a photoshoot that were posted on social media for a designer brand were condemned by an Indian Sikh journalist on Twitter.

The journalist had called out the "religiously hurtful" act, asking Prime Minister Imran Khan and relevant Pakistani authorities to take notice of it.

"Modelling bareheaded for ladies' attire, in the premises of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib at #KartarpurSahib in Pakistan, by a Lahorite woman, has hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs. Further, the pictures were uploaded on social media," the journalist wrote.

Fawad, taking notice of the matter, said that the Kartarpur gurdwara is a religious site and "not a film set".

"The designer/model must apologise to the Sikh community," he stressed.

The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is the biggest yet Sikh shrine of the world that stretches over four acres of land while acres of land around it have been cultivated for gardens/farms.

The Kartarpur Corridor, which links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district.

The corridor was recently reopened on November 17 for allowing Sikh pilgrims from India and all over the world to visit the gurdwara to celebrate the 552nd birth anniversary of their religion's founder.