Two Sikh youth were on Friday charged with assaulting former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) acting president Arwinderpal Singh Pakhoke and his aides at Baath village, 6 kilometres from here on the Khadoor Sahib road, over a sacrilege incident reported on October 16.
After torn pages of a holy ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib were found inside the gurdwara of Baath village, Sikhs had amassed at the village and held protests across the district. The news of unrest brought a concerned Pakhoke, now a member of the SGPC, to the spot, but the protesters raising slogans outside did not allow him to enter the gurdwara. The first-information report (FIR) suggests that Sikh youth Lakha Singh of Serron village and Baljinder Singh of Chabhal village attacked Pakhoke and his aides with sharp-edged weapons in an attempt to murder them.
The case was registered at the Sadar police station under Sections 295 (defiling a place of worship), 307 (attempt to murder), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 148 (armed riot), 149 (unlawful assembly with common object) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the complaint of Amrik Singh of Pakhoke village.
The complainant suggests that the accused were part of a dozen-odd hostile and armed Sikh youth. “We wanted to tell them the sacrilege had pained us as well, but they did not listen to us. Lakha Singh and Baljinder Singh not only attacked Pakhoke with swords but also removed his turban. We saved our lives with difficulty. Later, they kept approaching us for compromise,” reads the FIR.
When contacted, Baljinder Singh, said he had no clue why he had been booked when he had been “the one to save the SGPC member from the Sikh protesters, pick up his fallen turban from the street, and take him to a safe house nearby”. He denied that he had carried any sharp-edged weapon. “Nobody attacked the SGPC member with sharp-edged weapons. The Sikh protesters only engaged him in argument and raised slogans against him. Some of the protesters were armed indeed, but they did not come forward. His turban came off as someone pushed him,” he added. The other accused, Lakh Singh, could not be contacted.
The FIR says nobody was injured in the clash. Assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Narinder Singh has been assigned to investigate.