Listen to this article:
New Delhi: Two men have been lynched over alleged sacrilege attempts at Golden Temple in Amristar and at a gurudwara in Kapurthala district of Punjab within a span of 24 hours sending shock waves across the state.
Soon after the first incident at Golden Temple came to light, chief minister Charanjit Sigh Channi condemned the “most unfortunate and heinous act”.
“CM Charanjit Channi strongly condemned the most unfortunate and heinous act to attempt a sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Harimandir Sahib during the Rehraas Sahib Paath,” the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted.
He ordered a probe into the incident to find the “real conspirators” behind the incident, suggesting that the inquiry may focus on the alleged sacrilege and not the lynching.
On Saturday evening, while the prayers were still on and devotees present inside the Golden Temple, a man allegedly jumped over the fence separating the rest of the area from the sanctum sanctorum and tried grabbing the sword placed in front of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs. He was stopped and killed by those present there, NDTV has reported.
Confirming the same, Parminder Singh Bhandal, the deputy commissioner of police of Amritsar, said, “This evening during prayers, a man jumped the fence and entered the enclosed area. The congregation was offering prayers and bowing down.”
Continuing further, he said, “The man, about 20 to 25 years of age who had a yellow cloth tied on his head jumped the fence… the people inside held him and escorted him out to the corridor where there was a violent altercation and he died.”
The police official added that the man who attempted sacrilege was “alone” and the police teams are working to sift through CCTV footage to obtain more details, including where the man was from. “Postmortem will be done tomorrow. We will verify where he was from,” Bhandal said on Saturday, after the incident.
However, PTI said that the man in question was from Uttar Pradesh.
The second alleged attempt at sacrilege took place at around 4 am on Sunday, December 19, in Kapurthala district less than 24 hours after the Golden Temple incident, according to NDTV.
According to eyewitnesses, Nijampur villagers in Kapurthala district caught hold of a man allegedly “disrespecting Nishan Sahib (the Sikh flag)” at a gurudwara.
Though the police said to have reached the spot while the man in question was in the custody of locals, the locals insisted that he be questioned in front of them.
However, things turned for worse with locals getting into a scuffle with police leading to the lynching of the man.
With assembly election around the corner in Punjab, the issue of sacrilege is likely to have political ramifications given the emotive nature of the issue. In fact, the alleged lax attitude of former chief minister Amarinder Singh was one of the points of dispute between him and Navjot Sigh Sidhu, ultimately costing the former his chief ministership.
Responding to the latest alleged sacrilege incident, opposition Akali Dal said there was a “deep-rooted conspiracy”.
“The state and the central government must look into this. It’s a matter of great pain. It’s an attempt to weaken Punjab which is the sword arm of India. Some people have made it a political game over the last five years,” NDTV quoted Akali Dal MP Balwinder Bhunder as saying.
(With PTI inputs)