Blogger’s ‘bareheaded’ photos at Kartarpur gurdwara provokes controversy, Police launches investigation

A female blogger’s photos taken at the Kartarpur Gurdwara has sparked controversy on social media on Monday.

The Punjab Police has launched an investigation soon after the controversy started making rounds on the social media, after an Indian Sikh journalist, Ravinder Singh Robin shed light on the offensive nature of the photo-shoot 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 stated.

Soon after, the Punjab Police tweeted 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.

It is pertinent to note that the blogger’s photos were shared on the Instagram page of a clothing brand named Mannat Clothing, but were removed after the criticism.

As per the sources, the police would first investigate the “model” and the brand’s role in the capturing of the photos and later “register a case”, while adding that “[Police] are checking whether the model conducted the photoshoot on her own or the brand carried out the session.”

Later, the blogger, Sauleha Imtiaz apologised for the pictures, while clarifying that the pictures 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 stated.

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

The clothing brand Mannat in their defense, 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,” the statement added.

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”.

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.”

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