Punjab Police investigating blogger's 'bareheaded' photos at Kartarpur gurdwara

Published November 29, 2021
The blogger's photos were shared on a clothing brand's Instagram page before being removed. — Screengrab
The blogger's photos were shared on a clothing brand's Instagram page before being removed. — Screengrab

The Punjab Police launched an investigation after a female blogger's photos taken at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur sparked criticism on social media on Monday.

The probe was initiated after an Indian Sikh independent journalist, Ravinder Singh Robin, criticised the model's photos on Twitter.

"Modelling bareheaded for ladies' attire, in the premises of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib at #KartarpurSahib in Pakistan, by a Lahorite woman has [severely] hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs," he wrote, noting that the pictures had been uploaded to social media.

Replying to his tweet, Azhar Mashwani, the Punjab chief minister's focal person for digital media, said the matter had been "forwarded to concerned authorities for legal action".

The Punjab Police tweeted sometime later that they were "investigating all aspects related to this incident and strict legal action will be taken against [those] responsible".

"[The] management of concerned brand & model are being investigated. Worship places of all religions are equally respectable," it said.

The blogger's photos were shared on the Instagram page of a clothing brand named Mannat Clothing, but were removed after the criticism.

Mashwani later told Dawn.com that police would first investigate the "model" and the brand's role in the capturing of the photos and later "register a case".

"[Police] are checking whether the model conducted the photoshoot on her own or the brand carried out the session," he said.

In an Instagram post, Mannat clarified that "the pictures posted on our accounts are NOT part of any [photo]shoot done by Mannat Clothing. These pictures were provided to us by a third party (blogger) in which they were wearing our dress."

"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," it added.

The blogger, Sauleha Imtiaz, herself apologised for the pictures, saying they were not part of a formal photoshoot.

"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. However, if I have hurt anyone or they think that I don't respect their culture, I am Sorry," she wrote on Instagram.

"I respect the Sikh culture very much and I am sorry to all the Sikh community."

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also took notice of the incident, sought a report from the chief secretary and ordered an inquiry into it.

Buzdar also sought action against the officials who allowed the "modelling", with a statement saying "Not only will action be taken against those responsible after a comprehensive investigation into the incident but it will also be seen being taken."

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said "the designer and the model must apologise to Sikh community" over the photos.

"Kartarpur Sahib is a religious symbol and not a film set," he tweeted.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill termed the blogger's photos "stupid and unthoughtful", saying the designer must apologise for "hurting Sikh community's religious sentiments".

Meanwhile, the president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management committee, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, said "such behaviour and act at pious place of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is totally unacceptable!"

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