Calls for action against religious insensitivity and several questions have been raised after a local clothing brand posted pictures on their Instagram in which a woman was seen posing at Gurdwara Darbar Kartarpur Sahib with her head uncovered.
Pictures went viral on social media in which a woman posed for pictures while wearing clothes by a label called Mannat Clothing, with the gurdwara visible in the background.
Journalist Shiraz Hassan tweeted that Mannat Clothing had clarified that they shared the pictures on their Instagram as they received it from a social media influencer. The brand maintained they had nothing to do with the shoot at the religious site but agreed that they should have been more careful in sharing it through their platform.
The gurdwara is a sacred space for Sikhs and several were hurt by what they called as a religious insult. Journalist Ravinder Singh Robin said that the woman modelling for pictures with her head uncovered had struck a nerve with Sikhs, who were hurt by the gesture.
Modelling bareheaded for ladies' attire, in the premises of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib at #KartarpurSahib in Pakistan, by a Lahorite woman, has several hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs. Further the pictures were uploaded on social media.@ImranKhanPTI @MORAisbOfficial pic.twitter.com/i5RX01kWGo
— Ravinder Singh Robin ਰਵਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ رویندرسنگھ روبن (@rsrobin1) November 29, 2021
High officials from India like Amritsar Member of Parliament (MP) Gurjeet Singh Aujla also took notice of the incident. Aujla condemned the act and insisted Prime Minister Imran Khan to act against it, adding that advisories must be formulated to stop future incidents.
The hue and cry from Sikhs had Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry responding to the pictures as well. He said that the designer must apologize to Sikhs and realise that the gurdwara was not up for any theatrics.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister Shahbaz Gill seconded Chaudhry’s disapproval of the pictures and called it ‘stupid and unthoughtful’. He insisted that Punjab police act against the unacceptable behaviour.
Several others agreed with the two government officials. Journalist Seher Shinwari said that the move was not just a desecration of a holy place but also violated the human rights of Sikhs. Shinwari opined that the blogger must express regret to Sikhs or the government should disallow non-Sikhs from entering the gurdwara.
Activist Chaudhry Shahzad Ahmad also called for action against the photoshoot and said those involved had no idea about religious respect.
Many paralleled the incident to when actress Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed were summoned by the court for shooting the video for a song in August inside Masjid Wazir Khan. The public then was in an uproar at what they felt was a violation of the mosque’s sanctity.
While most were against both incidents, writer Tehreem Azeem said that the public had mostly defended Qamar and Saeed after the incident. Azeem said that Muslims were hurt too then, but the duo had taken permission from the mosque’s administration already, adding that the buildings were ‘shared cultural heritage’.
She further wondered why the humiliation was centred around women’s bodies and said that action must be taken insofar permission was not obtained for the photoshoot, otherwise it was not a matter of disrespect for the religion.
Months ago Saba Qamar and her colleague fall into a similar controversy. They were in a mosque for a shooting. They had already taken permission from the administration. Phir b unhe toheen ka ehsas hwa tha. We all defended that. No?
In that reference, we have to defend it? https://t.co/OALRNrIvmC
— Tehreem Azeem (@tehreemazeem) November 29, 2021