Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
A day after a man, who allegedly attempted to desecrate the Guru Granth Sahib, was killed by a mob at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, another man was allegedly beaten to death by locals in Kapurthala district of Punjab for allegedly disrespecting the Sikh flag.
According to reports, the man was a migrant worker from Bihar's Gopalganj.
Residents of Nijampur village in Kapurthala district allegedly saw the man disrespecting the Nishan Sahib (the Sikh flag) at the village Gurudwara around 4 am. They managed to grab hold of him around 5 am.
The villagers said the man admitted that he had come there to commit sacrilege. However, Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh, SSP Kapurthala, had said that the man may have been attempting to commit a theft when he was caught by the men.
A video of the incident has also gone viral on social media where the alleged suspect can be seen being beaten up by members of the Sikh community, with his hands tied behind his back.
Amarjit Singh, who is the Gurudwara caretaker, saw the man disrespecting the Nishan Sahib when he came out for his daily prayers at 4 am.
"When I challenged the suspect, he tried to escape in the dark, but he was caught after some time," Singh said. "The suspect only told that he was 'sent' from Delhi and a sister of his has also been 'killed for sacrilege' at another place," he added.
What Did the Police Say?
Meanwhile, SSP Khakh said:
"Amarjit Singh, the Gurudwara caretaker, woke up at 4 am and saw a man in the distance. He wasn't sure if he was a worker or a thief. He saw him running and asked two of his workers to catch him. The Gurudwara, where the Guru Granth Sahib is kept, is on the upper floor. They locked the suspect in a room downstairs and beat him up. Amarjit later went live on Facebook and said that the suspect had come to commit sacrilege."
"However, on investigating the case, we found that the suspect was wearing the jacket of one of the workers. So that's how the two workers recognised him when he ran outside. His intention was to steal," Khakh added.
"They started to beat him and asked everyone to gather at the Gurudwara during the Facebook Live session. A mob gathered at the spot. The police tried to explain the situation to everyone and maintain law and order. However, now whatever they have done, an investigation will be carried out on those charges. A murder case will be filed. Everything is on social media," Khakh said.
"So far, the investigation has found out that, and the Gurudwara official has also said that the suspect tampered with the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag), which was downstairs. We visited the Gurudwara as well and saw that nothing was disturbed. There was no sacrilege. He was just wearing the jacket of one of the workers. This seems to be a case of theft," Khakh added.
After receiving information about the incident, a police team reached the spot and asked the people at the Gurudwara to hand over the man. They assured them the police will investigate the matter, however, those people did not relent, reported The Indian Express. The people insisted that the man be questioned in front of them at the Gurudwara, reported The Times of India.
An altercation broke out between the police and the members of the Sikh community. Meanwhile, Sikh organisations also reached the spot and demanded the youth be handed over to them so that they could teach him a lesson, reported The Indian Express.
The police then forcefully entered the room where the youth had been detained and were followed by Sikh activists. The man was allegedly killed in the scuffle. According to NDTV, the police later took the suspect to the hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Later in the day, the Inspector General of Police, Jalandhar, was quoted as saying by ANI:
"No visible sign of sacrilege at Gurdwara sahib. FIR registered u/s 295A. Information about attack on police and man killed being verified. If it appears to be murder then FIR to be registered accordingly."
"As it was a sensitive issue, police used restraint. Those people who managed to do this were more in number than the police. People's emotional sentiments were high after the incident at Golden Temple," he added.
Police have also said that they will probe the killing as well.
Meanwhile, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, DGP, Punjab Police, said:
"I have taken serious note of the unfortunate incidents in Amritsar and Kapurthala. Any attempt to violate the communal harmony in the state will be dealt with a firm hand. Stern action will be taken against all those disturbing the law and order in Punjab."
Second Such Incident in Last 2 Days
On Saturday, 18 December, a man who allegedly attempted to desecrate the Guru Granth Sahib was killed by a mob at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
The man's alleged 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, trying to touch the sword and holy books, when he was stopped by people. The incident reportedly took place at 5:45 pm.