Even as agitations and road blocks continue in various parts of Punjab to protest against the incidents of desecration, a cautious calm prevails at this village from where the Guru Granth Sahib went missing on June 1.
There is no road block or protest to mark the mysterious disappearance of the holy book in the village that has a population of around 7,000, comprising all castes and communities.
Though the villagers term the June incident as unfortunate and expect the government to bring the culprits to book at the earliest, they are equally keen for normalcy to return fast.
“Such a mischievous act cannot be the handiwork of a god-fearing person. It was done to create divisions and to provoke religious sentiments. But we have collectively decided not to play into the hands of such communal forces,” said a group of villagers, who had gathered outside the gurdwara.
According to 70-year-old Dilbag Singh, who runs a shop near the gurdwara, the rogue elements tried to create communal disharmony by stealing the holy book. However, when they failed they tried to do so by throwing its pages at Bargari village, 6 km from here.
The holy book went missing from the gurdwara on June 1 while its pages were found scattered at Bargari village on October 12. Some miscreants even put up provocative posters to fan communal hatred. “It shows there was a pattern to the entire conspiracy to flame religious feelings,” said Makhan Singh, 67, another villager.
Efforts in vain
Gora Singh, the lone granthi who has been the caretaker of the gurdwara for four years, said the incident had badly disturbed him. He said the villagers left no stone unturned to find the Guru Granth Sahib, but without success.
“Villagers and the police made exhaustive efforts to trace the missing granth. Then, we had no option but to install the new Guru Granth Sahib, and now keep round-the-clock vigil. We have started locking the gates of the gurdwara even during day. We also spent Rs 45,000 to install four CCTV cameras,” said Gora Singh.
Ranjit Singh, who is associated with Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle and teaches verses of the holy granth to students on the gurdwara premises, termed the incident as tragic, saying all castes and communities lived in the village.
“We have a single gurdwara and only one cremation ground for all unlike other villages. The incident has brought no bad blood among inhabitants. It has rather united them to fight communal forces,” said Ranjit Singh, adding that the Guru Granth Sahib teaches us to stay calm so that anti-social elements did not take advantage.
Villagers feel the incident has thrown the normal life completely out of gear. People are unable to go to work due to road blocks; commuters are suffering as buses stay off road, farmers are unable to take paddy to the grain market; markets are closed and children find it difficult to go to school.
Cops stayed put in village
Since the holy book went missing from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village on June 1, police have been under pressure to locate it. Teams led by DIG RS Khatra, DIG Amar Singh Chahal and former Moga SSP Charanjit Sharma stayed put at the village for around three weeks to locate the holy book. Extensive searches were conducted not only at the village but also in nearly 20 villages. Village ponds were emptied, fodder was cut and every single house was thoroughly searched. DSP Sukhdev Singh was asked to permanently camp in the village. Sharma kept visiting the village even after he was transferred to Moga in August, but to no avail.