BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi questioned Sidhu’s silence over the Nankana Sahib vandalisation row

Lekhi also referred to Sidhu’s hug to Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit to the neighbouring country to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as its prime minister in 2018.

The BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi has questioned the silence of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday’s mob attack on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan as she used the incident to justify her party’s decision to bring in the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Lekhi also referred to Sidhu’s hug to Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit to the neighbouring country to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as its prime minister in 2018.

She, however, said Sidhu embraced the chief of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI.

“I don’t know where Sidhu paaji has fled… If even after all this, he wants to hug the ISI chief, then Congress should look into it,” Lekhi said on Saturday.

“How will you finish off dogmatism with love? They did send Sidhu to hug ISI chief. What happened after that? Did the attacks on Nankana Sahib stop? Did they stop abducting girls?” she asked.

Lekhi was addressing a press conference to condemn the alleged attack on Gurudwara Nankana Sahib, the shrine built at the birthplace of Guru Nanak, as she said the incident shows how minorities are persecuted in Pakistan.

Her party colleague and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Punjab unit chief Shwait Malik had also questioned Sidhu’s silence over the attack on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib.

“Why is Sidhu now silent when the Sikh community is being attacked in Pakistan? Why the person (Sidhu), who hugged Imran Khan and Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is not saying anything on the matter?” Malik, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, had asked.

An angry mob had surrounded Gurdwara Nankana Sahib and threatened to occupy it demanding the release of those detained in connection with the alleged forcible conversion of a Sikh woman, reports in the Pakistani media said.

Hundreds of people joined the sit-in protest and a number of Pakistani Sikhs were caught within the Gurdwara.

The demonstration ended after negotiations between the protesters and representatives of the local administration resulted in the release of the arrested people, the reports said.

Lekhi also said there have been consistent acts of violence on religious places in Pakistan and minorities have been subject to threats of conversion and rapes for decades.

The BJP leader alleged that there have been thousands of incidents where young girls have been picked up, forcibly converted and married off to Muslim boys, while the police, government and other agencies are part and parcel of the process.

“The persecution continues unabated since the creation of Pakistan, resulting in the forced migration of such persecuted minorities into India. This not only justifies the necessity of an act like the CAA but also stresses the need for its immediate implementation. Pakistan now proves that CAA is right and is timely,” she said.

“The attack in Nankana Sahib should make those sitting in Shaheen Bagh and in the Kerala assembly understand the importance of the CAA,” she said referring to the anti-CAA protests in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and the resolution passed by the Kerala assembly not to implement the law.

Lekhi said Nankana Sahib is the holiest shrine for Sikhs and that attacks on it are equivalent to someone attacking Kaaba or Jerusalem.

The Indian government expressed concern at the “vandalism carried out at the revered Nankana Sahib Gurdwara” and members of Pakistan’s Sikh minority being “subjected to acts of violence in the holy city of Nankana Sahib”.

It called on the Pakistani authorities to ensure the safety and security of Sikhs.

“India strongly condemns these wanton acts of destruction and desecration of the holy place,” the ministry of external affairs had said in a statement.

“We call upon Government of Pakistan to take immediate steps to ensure safety, security, and welfare of the members of the Sikh community,” it had said.

Pakistan has rejected the media reports that Gurdwara Nankana Sahib was desecrated in a mob attack, saying the birthplace of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak remains “untouched and undamaged” and the “claims of destruction” of one of the holiest Sikh shrines are “false”.