Two unidentified youths shot a granthi after he reportedly opposed their attempt to steal a motorcycle from the premises of the historic gurdwara on Wednesday morning.
The deceased have been identified as Sukhchain Singh, a resident of Patti, who was on duty at Gurdwara Sri Guru Arjun Dev, an important shrine for Sikhs after the Golden Temple. Sukhchain Singh used offer 'ardas' at 7 am every day at the gurdwara. On Wednesday morning, a sewadar told him that someone was trying to steal a motorcycle from the gurdwara premises. The granthi chased the thieves and caught them, but the latter reportedly opened fired on him with a pistol.
Gurdev Singh, an eyewitness, said the suspects broke the lock of the motorcycle, but after failing to break the second lock they started dragging the two-wheeler. As the granthi gave a chase, the suspects fired at him.
Sukhchain Singh died on way to hospital.
Sources said this was not the only case of vehicle-lifting reported from the gurdwara premises as more than a dozen such complaints have already been registered with police. A large number of devotees pay obeisance at the gurdwara everyday.
Ashwani Kumar Kukku, a social activist, said it was shameful that nobody came forward to help the granthi though many devotees were present at the gurdwara when the incident occurred. Arjun Singh, manager, Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran, said the granthi was on duty at the time of the incident and his act exhibits the true spirit of Sikhism.
"He was a real hero, who followed the path shown by the Sikh gurus," Arjun Singh said. He added that Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar had been apprised of the incident and he had been urged to give compensation to the family of the deceased. The manager urged the people to park their vehicles in the authorised parking lots provided by the SGPC.
Stating that a case has been registered against the unidentified persons, Tarn Taran deputy superintendent of police Daljit Singh Dhillon said investigation into the matter was on. "The suspects are likely to be arrested soon," he said.