Tension gripped Adampur town of Jalandhar district on Sunday after a “granthi” allegedly tore 14 pages of Guru Granth Sahib at Guru Harsar Gurdwara at Ghurial village.
The situation turned violent when Sikh protesters, including members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), beat up local Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member and senior Akali leader Paramjeet Singh Raipur when he urged them to maintain peace. The protesters also blocked the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur highway.
Raipur, who arrived at Admapur police station, was beaten up by the protesters in the presence of the cops with sticks and swords. Eyewitness said Raipur had a narrow escape when one of the protesters attacked him with a sword on his head. The police came to his rescue and he took shelter at the police station. The police are yet to lodge a first information report (FIR) against the attackers.
The protesters also roughed up Adampur deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Nirlep Singh when he tried to control the situation. Accusing the DSP of using derogatory language, the angry mob threw sand in his face.
* ROLE OF ‘GRANTHI’ SUSPECTED
Jalandhar deputy commissioner (DC) KK Yadav said the sacrilege incident came to light after a three-day religious programme at Ghurial village, around seven kilometres from Adampur.
When the devotees were on their way to return the “bir” of Guru Granth Sahib at the gurdwara around 2pm on Sunday, a “granthi”, who was also part of the religious function, asked them to come after a while as he said the room was locked. Later, when members of the village gurdwara committee requested the devotees to place the ‘bir’ in the gurdwara, they found the lock of the room broken and torn pages of the holy book were scattered on a bench.
Suspecting the “granthi”, identified as Avtar Singh Tari of nearby Chaumo village, the villagers traced him and thrashed him before handing him over to the police.
When the police brought the “granthi” to the Adampur police station, around 300 Sikh protesters, equipped with sharp-edged weapons and sticks, gathered outside the police station on the highway and asked the cops to hand over the accused to them. They denied to lift the blockade till the names of persons involved the sacrilege incident were made public.
* LUDHIANA CONNECTION TO EPISODE
The villagers also recovered a mobile phone of the granthi. Village gurdwara committee head Satwinder Singh said in the last call that the accused made was to a woman in Ludhaina. He said the woman picked up the phone but didn’t reveal her identity when asked by the villagers.
Jalandhar Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harmohan Singh Sandhu said a team led by superintendent of police (SP investigation) HPS Khakh has taken the mobile in the possession and has started the probe. The SSP said the “granthi” was accompanied by his uncle Ajit Singh who had confessed to have torn the pages of the holy book.
* CASE REGISTERED
The police have registered a case against Avtar Singh Tari and Ajit Singh under Sections 295A (hurting religious sentiments), 34 (committing crime with a common intention) and 120B (criminal conspiracy). The SSP said the “granthi” appeared to be under the influence of drugs and has not yet revealed his motive behind the immoral act.
After registration of the case, deputy commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav, additional deputy commissioner Girish Dayalan, SSP (Jalandhar rural) Harmohan Singh Sandhu and Kapurthala SSP Rajinder Singh rushed to the spot and held parleys with a five-member committee of the protesters. However, the protesters refused to lift the blockade from National Highway-70. Hundreds of passengers had to face inconvenience due to the blockade.