There has been a lot of speculation about the demolition of a four-storey centuries-old building recently which is allegedly said to be the Guru Nanak Palace.
The building is said to have been constructed over four centuries ago in a village called Bathanwala, and its construction comprised of old bricks, sand, clay and limestone, including 16 large rooms which had beautiful doors, walls and cupboard with flowers and old world designs carved into them, and at least four ventilators – all of which have been reported stolen.
The claims came from locals, who according to Dawn, said, “This old building is called the Palace of Baba Guru Nanak and we have named it Mahalan. A number of Sikhs from across the world, including India, used to visit this building,” and a three-foot-wide and sturdy wall surrounding the building which had intricately painted pictures of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism; as well as of various Hindu rulers and princes.
Dawn‘s story also claims that many Sikh minorities visited the building, being a historical site, during their religious visits.
A different account as per India Today‘s representative in Pakistan, Hamza Ameer, has claimed that the building is an abandoned structure, standing in a small village called ‘Bhaat’, about 20 km from Narowal city in Pakistan’s Punjab province and has been there before the Indo-Pak partition and has been a living shelter to a poor family from the same village.
Furthermore, Hamza Ameer, stated that the building was not demolished, but fell down on its own after the locals took out its doors, windows and ventilators and as a local quoted to him, “The building structure was so old that it could not stand on its own, especially after the doors and other stuff was taken out. No one demolished it.”
India Today‘s rep has also revealed that no Sikh community member visited the building, having not been the Guru Nanak Palace. “Baba Guru Nanak never used to live in palaces. He was a fakir and was never needed lavish palaces to reside in”, said leader of the Sikh community on the basis of anonymity.
Evacue Trust Property Board (ETPB) and Auqaf, the two government offices responsible for the religious sites of minorities in Pakistan have also maintained that the site is not registered with any of the authorities as a religious site. They claim that any property of the ETPB, which is rented out, cannot be demolished nor have anything constructed on it without permission.
Locals have allegedly demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan take immediate notice of the destruction of this ‘heritage site’ and take action against those who demolished it.
We are waiting on more news on this and will update as we get more information.