Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
A man who attempted to desecrate the Guru Granth Sahib was killed by a mob at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Saturday, 18 December.
The man's attempt to sacrilege took place during Rehras Sahib, the daily evening prayers. It was captured by a Punjabi TV channel that telecasts the proceedings from the temple live.
The man was seen jumping over the railing inside the temple during the evening prayers and trying to touch the sword and holy books, when he was stopped by people. The incident reportedly took place at 5:45 pm.
Confirming the news of his death, Parminder Singh Bhandal, the Deputy Commissioner of Police of Amritsar, told NDTV:
"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 body of the man is being kept at Amritsar's Civil Hospital. The police are engaged in identifying him and the post-mortem is expected to be done only after the identification process. The man did not have an ID on him.
FIR Filed by Sevadar at Golden Temple, Makes No Mention of Death of the Man
An FIR has been filed by Sadha Singh, a 47-year-old sevadar at the Golden Temple, who claims he was present when the sacrilege attempt took place. He has described how he and the three other sevadars present in the main area removed the man who jumped over the railing and tried to attempt sacrilege.
The FIR states that the man picked up Siri Saheb (kirpan) with an intention to hurt, but that Sadha Singh and the three other sevadars who were on duty held the man and brought him under their control.
The FIR lists two charges under the Indian Penal Code – Section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and Section 307 (attempt to murder). The FIR, however, does not mention that the man who allegedly attempted sacrilege was killed in an altercation following the incident.
'Will Thoroughly Probe Matter': CM Channi Tweets
Chief Minister of Punjab Charanjit Singh Channi condemned the incident and said that he had directed state police to "thoroughly probe the matter" and "find the real conspirators".
The President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Harjinder Singh Dhami, expressed his anger over the incident and said, "It is a matter of great sorrow that such an incident took place at the Sachkhand Sri Harmandir Sahib from where the message of universal communion is conveyed to all mankind."
Dhami also blamed the governments of not taking the matters of sacrilege seriously.
Saturday's incident of attempted sacrilege was the second one this week. Earlier on Wednesday, a man threw the holy gutka (a handbook of Gurbani) into the sarovar (holy tank) of the Golden Temple. The man was apprehended and handed over the police.
Akali Dal leader and former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal called the incident exceedingly painful and said:
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted, "The incident is very unfortunate. This could be a very big conspiracy. Those who are found guilty should receive strict punishment."
Punjab Lok Congress chief and former CM Captain Amarinder Singh has demanded that the government get to the bottom of the matter.
The desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib is a highly emotive issue in Punjab and among Sikhs. A series of alleged sacrilege incidents that took place in Punjab in 2015 had assumed political significance during the 2017 Assembly elections.