On the morning of Wednesday 25 March at 7:45am the Old City of Kabul woke up to the familiar sound of shots and explosions, marking a fresh insurgent attack. The target was not a military or civilian government installation, but the Sikh gurdwara (temple) in the Shor Bazar neighbourhood.
It was an unprecedented, sectarian attack on a peaceful, non-Muslim religious minority. 26 people were killed and 11 wounded, men, women and one child. The Islamic State claimed the attack.
This was not the first nor the last attack on sikhs in an Islamic country.
In June this year in Pakistan , Bone-chilling murder of a minority Sikh human rights activist has caused uproar in Pakistan highlighting the government’s failure to protect its minorities. Unfortunately, this is not the first attack of its kind and going by the recent pattern, the community continues to be a target of such attacks. Charanjit Singh, 52, was a well-known human rights activist and member of the country’s minority Sikh community.
In April 2016, gunmen killed Sardar Soran Singh, provincial Minister for Minorities Affair. Singh, 46, was the first Sikh in the Khyber Paktoonkhaw Provincial Assembly and an advocate of interfaith-harmony.
Police record shows as many as eight prominent members of the Sikh community have been killed in act of target killings in Pakistan’s Khyber Paktoonkhaw since 2013.
Hundreds of Muslims in Pakistan recently besieged a prominent gurdwara, a place of assembly and worship, trapping Sikhs for hours in the process.
The violence followed the celebration of Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, a festival commemorating the birthday of the tenth Sikh guru on January 2.
A video posted on social media showed hundreds of Muslims surrounding Nankana Sahib, the pilgrimage site in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, and attacking the holy place with stones while shouting that they would destroy the sire and change its name to Ghulam-e-Mustafa, an Arabic term meaning “the Servant of the Prophet Mohammad”.
Rights advocates from Pakistan’s Sikh community have emphasised that since 2002, the historic Sikh population in the country has plummeted from 40,000 people to only 8,000 amid threats of forced conversions and increased violence that has specifically targeted Sikh worshipers and their holy sites.
These are some recent cases where Sikhs are target tere and killed in islamic Countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. But this is not a new phenomenon. If we look back at history, Islamic Rulers have a history of Killing sikh Gurus, Murdering Kids And Cheating sikh Warriors.
What ISIS is doing is the exact copy of what Mughals did against Sikh Gurus and followers of Sikhism from 15th century to 18th century.
Jahangir wrote in his autobiography Tuzk-e-Jahangiri that too many people were becoming persuaded by Guru Arjan’s teachings and if he did not become a Muslim the Sikh Panth had to be extinguished. He ordered the Guru’s execution.
The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered Hindu temples to be destroyed and that idol worship was to be stopped. He had a temple converted into a Mosque and slaughtered a cow inside it. He also had Hindus sacked from their government jobs and employed Muslims instead. Aurangzeb also ordered Gurdwaras to be destroyed, and he expelled many missionaries from the main cities. Despite some resistance after many years of persecution, people were being forced to take up Islam. Aurangzeb, being clever, decided if he could convert the revered Brahmin Pandits of Kashmir that millions of followers would then easily be converted. Threatened with conversion or death, the Pandits overcome by panic, came in a delegation to Chakk Nanaki, Pargana Kahlur and requested Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s help. Hearing the serious nature of the conversation, Guru Ji’s 9 year old son Gobind Rai Ji told his father what the problem was. The Guru told his son of the Pandits dilemma and said that it would take a holy man literally laying down his life to intercede. Gobind Rai responded “Who would be better than you to defend the poor Brahmins”. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji decided to stand up for the right of freedom of worship and told the delegation to tell Aurangzeb that if he could convert Guru Tegh Bahadur they would gladly convert.
Four days later Guru Tegh Bahadur ji was arrested, along with some of his followers, Bhai Dayala, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Sati Das by Nur Muhammad Khan.
After Mati Das, Dyal Das and Sati Das were tortured and executed on three consecutive days, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded at Chandni Chowk in 1675.
Bhai Sati Das was wrapped up in cotton wool, set alight and was roasted alive. He remained calm and peaceful and kept uttering Waheguru, waheguru, waheguru (Sikh meditation). His martyrdom is remembered by the Sikhs in their daily prayers. This happened on 24 November 1675, on the same day as Bhai Mati Das was executed.
Mati Das while standing erect was tied between two posts. He was asked if he had any parting words, to which Mati Das answered, “I request only that my head be turned toward my Guru as I am executed.” Two executioners placed a double-handed saw on his head. Mati Das serenely uttered “Ek Onkar” and started reciting the Japji Sahib, the great morning prayer of the Sikhs. He was sawn in half from head to loins. It is said that even as the body was being sawn into two, the Japji continued to reverberate from each part until it was all over.
Qazi pronounced his religious order that Bhai Dayala must either accept Islam or be prepared to embrace death by being boiled in a Cauldron. Bhai Dayal was asked for a final time if he would leave his faith and embrace Islam. Bhai sahib defiantly and consistently answered, “No!” to the qazi’s repeated requests. This infuriated the qazi who pronunced his immediate torture and death. The executioners sat Bhai Sahib in the cauldron of water under which a large fire was lit. Slowly the water was let warm; then it was hot; soon it was too hot and then it was boiling. Bhai Dayala continued to his last breath to recite Sikh prayers.
Mass torture and persecution of Sikhs
Zakariya Khan was the Mughal governor of Lahore, now in Pakistan. He had taken part in the Mughal Empire’s operations against the Sikh leader Banda Singh Bahadur. After the capture of Banda Singh and his companions in December 1715, he escorted the prisoners to Delhi, rounding up Sikhs that he could find in villages along the route. As he reached the Mughal capital, the caravan comprised seven hundred bullock carts full of severed heads and over seven hundred captives. He ordered village officials to capture Sikhs and hand them over for execution. A graded scale of rewards was laid down – a blanket for cutting off a Sikh’s hair; ten rupees for information about the whereabouts of a Sikh; fifty rupees for a Sikh scalp. Plunder of Sikh homes was made lawful; giving shelter to Sikhs or withholding information about their movements was made a capital offense.
The Sikh women held as prisoners in Mir Mannu’s Jail (1748-1753) who endured the pain of having their children murdered and made into garlands around their necks but did not sacrifice their faith. During 18th century Sikh women were arrested and endured torture in Mir Mannu’s Jail in Lahore
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