The attempt to desecrate the Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Saturday, 18 December, and the killing of the man responsible, has sparked a political controversy in Punjab. The man's alleged attempt of sacrilege was captured on video.
With incidents of sacrilege having been a crucial election issue when Punjab went to Assembly polls in 2017, political parties are questioning whether this incident at the Golden Temple is part of a larger conspiracy. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter. Punjab goes to Assembly polls early next year.
Harjinder Singh Dhami, the president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, on Monday, said:
"Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is setting up an inquiry panel for sacrilege incident (at Golden Temple) probe," Dhani also said.
He also demanded that the Punjab government set up an inquiry to probe the sacrilege attempt at the Kapurthala gurdwara.
Meanwhile, reacting to the incident, Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday said that a conspiracy is going on to disrupt the Punjab's peace and demanded for a public execution of the accused in the instances of sacrilege.
"Wherever sacrilege takes place, be it of Quran Sharif or Bhagavad Gita or Guru Granth Sahib, they (the guilty) should be hanged in public and given biggest Constitutional punishment," Sidhu said.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal has called the sacrilege attempt "exceedingly painful" and a crime "too reprehensible for words." He added that the possibility of a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the incident cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, SAD leader Sukhbir Badal attacked Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and the two deputy chief ministers.
"I'd like to tell Punjab CM and Deputy CMs to remember the sacrilege incident in our government's rule, you had said that CM should be jailed, that CM-Dy CM had allowed it. You did politics and didn't catch the guilty and deliberately spent 5 years in defaming Badal family and SAD," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
"We don't want to do politics, we want culprits be caught. Since no culprit was caught in last 5 yrs, they were emboldened. It's sad they've formed inquiry committee of Deputy CM. A judge should've been on the committee. This shows that they don't want to catch culprits," he added.
BJP Demands CBI Probe Into the Incident
The BJP has raised the demand for a CBI probe into the matter, and accused the Congress government of failing to curb such incidents in the state.
Kejriwal Calls for Strictest of Punishments For Those Found Guilty
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "The incident is very unfortunate. This could be a very big conspiracy. Those who are found guilty should receive strict punishment."
Amarinder: Govt Must Get to the Bottom of This
Former Punjab CM and Punjab Lok Congress chief Amarinder Singh has demanded that the government get to the bottom of the matter.
'Strict Action Against All Who Took Law Into Their Own Hands': INC National Spokesperson
Congress national spokesperson Dr Abhishek Singhvi, while condemning the attempted sacrilege, said that "lynching in a civilised country is no less horrendous."
He requested authorities to take strict action against "all who took law into their own hand."
Reacting to the event, public interest lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said in a tweet, "Terrible. Totally inhuman, whatever the provocation."
Punjab CM Asks People To Maintain Communal Harmony
Meanwhile, Punjab CM Charanjit Channi visited the Golden Temple on Sunday and asked the people of the state to maintain peace and communal harmony.
"We appeal to the people of the State to respect and protect the religious centers of all religions, maintain communal harmony. It might be that some bad elements are causing this as Assembly elections are nearing. Our agencies are conducting a probe," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier, Channi had "directed state police authorities to thoroughly probe into entire matter to zero in at the underlying motive and real conspirators behind this dastardly act," tweeted the CMO Punjab account.
Punjab Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa called it an "unfortunate incident" adding that the person had come with the target of sacrilege as he was there for 9-10 hours.
"He has not been identified yet. We will investigate the matter," he said, according to news agency ANI.
"In 2018, the state government passed and sent a proposal to the Government of India to give minimum 10 years imprisonment under Section 295A, to whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Guru Granth Sahib, Bhagwad Geeta, Quran and Bible. I'll write again to the Government of India regarding it," Randhawa added.