Situation turned tense in Palasaur village on outskirts of Tarn Taran on Wednesday evening after some Sikh activists allegedly demolished the ‘mazar’ (shrine) of Peer Baba Abdul Shah.
Hundreds of villagers staged dharna at the main chowk of the village demanding strict action against the guilty. They said the act had deeply hurt the religious sentiments of the people.
The dharna, which went on for the entire day, was only lifted after police assurance.
On complaint of Jaspal Singh, chief organiser of the ‘mazar’, as many as 69 persons were booked. Of them, 19 have been booked by name. Five people have also been arrested.
Jaspal claimed that he was working as the priest of the 500-year-old ‘mazar’ and looking after its affairs along with one Kulwant Singh.
Jaspal claimed that Sukhwinder Singh, who stays opposite to the ‘mazar’, accompanied by scores of other Sikh activists, barged into the premises carrying swords and other sharp edged-weapons.
“They had brought a JCB machine along and started pulling down the structure. However, when villagers started gathering outside the ‘mazar’, they fled,” claimed Jaspal.
He claimed that Sikh activists also stole utensils, two gas cylinders and a money box containing `50,000.
A case has been registered against Sikh activists at city police station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act.
Many among those booked are associated with Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee which is active in Majha region, and other radical Sikh organisations.
Two more ‘mazars’ were being constructed
One of the accused Jasbir Singh, a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee worker, said said Jaspal’s claims that it was 500-year-old ‘mazar’ are false.
“The structure had come up adjacent to the wall of a gurdwara some years ago. Some people forcibly turned it to a religious place. Now, they are building two more such ‘mazars’ near the gate of gurdwara,” he alleged.
Sikh devotees lodged a complaint in this regard to the SGPC. “I was asked by SGPC officials to demolish the structure. Most Sikh youth booked in the case are innocent,” he added.