Punjabi police have opened an investigation after photos of a blogger taken at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur drew criticism on social media on Monday.
The investigation was launched after a freelance Indian Sikh journalist Ravinder Singh Robin criticized the model’s photos on Twitter.
“A bare-headed model for a woman’s outfit, at the premises of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib in #KartarpurSahib in Pakistan, by a Lahorite woman [severely] hurt the religious feelings of Sikhs, ”he wrote, noting that the images had been uploaded to social media.
Responding to his tweet, Azhar Mashwani, the Chief Minister of Punjab’s focal point for digital media, noted the case had been “transmitted to the authorities concerned for legal action”.
Punjab police tweeted some time later that they were “investigating all aspects of this incident and that strict legal action would be taken against [those] responsible”.
“[The] the management of the brand and model concerned are under study. Places of worship of all religions are equally respectable, ”he said.
The blogger’s photos were shared on the Instagram page for a clothing brand named Mannat Clothing, but were removed after the reviews.
Mashwani later said Dawn.com that the police would first investigate the ‘model’ and the brand’s role in capturing the photos and then ‘register a case’.
“[Police] check if the model did the photoshoot alone or if the brand did the shoot, ”he said.
In an Instagram post, Mannat clarified that “the photos published on our accounts are NOT part of any [photo]shooting by Mannat Clothing. These photos 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 apologize to everyone who was offended by this,” he added.
Blogger Sauleha Imtiaz herself apologized for the photos, saying they were not part of an official photoshoot.
“I just went to Kartarpur to learn more about the history and get to know the Sikh community. It was not done to hurt anyone.[‘s] feelings or anything for that matter. However, if I have hurt someone or if they think I don’t respect their culture, I’m sorry, ”she wrote on Instagram.
“I respect the Sikh culture very much and I feel sorry for the whole Sikh community.”
Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar also took note of the incident, requested a report from the chief secretary and ordered an investigation into it.
Buzdar also called for action against those officials who authorized the “modeling”, with a statement saying “Not only will action be taken against those responsible after a full investigation of the incident, but it will also be taken.”
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said “the designer and model have to apologize to the Sikh community” because of the photos.
“Kartarpur Sahib is a religious symbol and not a movie set,” he tweeted.
The Prime Minister’s special assistant for political communication, Shahbaz Gill, called the blogger’s photos “stupid and thoughtless”, saying the designer must apologize for “harming the religious feelings of the Sikh community”.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, said that “such behavior and such a pious act of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is totally unacceptable!”