Muslim girl spotted at Sikh temple

Updated 19 Jun 2015

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The 14-year-old said she had come to the temple because she wished to convert to Sikhism.  —Online/File
The 14-year-old said she had come to the temple because she wished to convert to Sikhism. —Online/File

TAXILA: A Muslim girl who sneaked into the Sikh temple at Gurdawara Punja Sahib, performed rituals with women pilgrims and said she wanted to convert to Sikhism.

Her wish left local authorities and law enforcement agencies confused.

On Wednesday evening, the women devotees were eating dinner in the dining hall at the temple, when they spotted a teenage girl they did not recognise. Earlier, this girl had been performing rituals with them. When asked about her identity, she said her name is Saira, she is 14-year-old and had come to the temple because she wished to convert to Sikhism.

Upon hearing this, the worshippers contacted law enforcement agencies, officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board and Sikh Gurdawara Parbandhak Committee. Officials rushed to the temple and handed the girl over to the police.

During preliminary interrogation, she told the police that she is a resident of Kalabat in Swabi District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and her father is a taxi driver. She said she was visiting a Sikh cloth seller in her area when she found out about a fair at the Gurdawara Punja Sahib at Hassanabdal. She then secretly left home and came to the temple.

However, she told the investigators that she does not know the mobile phone numbers of any of her relatives.

Later, talking to Dawn at the police station in a mixture of Urdu and Pashto, the girl said she visited to Sikh temple, out of curiosity.

However, she could not provide an answer when asked about why she selected the Sikh temple at Gurdawara Punja Sahib for her visit and started crying.

Investigating Officer ASI Ismail told Dawn the girl does not appear to be in a sound mental state and is not telling the police her address or the contact numbers of her family. He said that the police in Kalabat village have been contacted and they are attempting to locate her family.

She had been sent to Dar ul Aman in Attock.

The caretaker at Gurdawara Punja Sahib Asmat Ullah he said the girl came with a group of Sikh women entering the Gurdawara for evening prayers. — Correspondent

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2015

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