Alleging frame-up, residents of Panjgrain Khurad village in Moga district are not ready to buy the police theory that Jaswinder Singh and Rupinder Singh, both brothers, were involved in the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari village in Faridkot district and were getting instructions and funding from handlers abroad. They were arrested on Tuesday.
Their house in the village, which has no gate, doors and windows, wore a deserted on Wednesday as the family left the village sensing trouble. However, nobody tried to damage the house as villages believe that both Jaswinder and Rupinder are innocent.
“The family is living in a wretched condition and runs a grocery store in the village. They only have a van and a motorcycle-driven trolley. The family has been living in the village for the past more than 50 years after it migrated from Surghuri village of Faridkot district. If they were involved in such activities for money, they would have lived a lavish life,” says Anjrej Singh, a neighbour.
“Besides the two brothers, the family includes Jaswinder’s wife, their parents and an unmarried sister. Two sisters are married and all in their family are baptised Sikhs,” added Anjrej.
“The family is involved in community welfare works. They help the sick, hold turban tying competitions and motivate village children and others to get baptised. We still do not believe that they are involved in the desecration incident,” said Kuldeep Singh, a resident of the village.
People sitting at a village common place also echoed similar views. “Nobody ever saw a suspicious person visiting the family. Rupinder is also a member of the satkar committee for Guru Granth Sahib. The government has implicated the brothers in a false case as they had joined the protest. They have a clean past,” said an elderly resident of the village.
“We will not buy the police theory till the stolen bir is recovered from their possession,” said another resident.
The police had rounded up four youths — Rupinder, Jaswinder, Gurlal Singh Rinka and Amandeep Singh — from the village on the intervening night of October 16 and 17. Gurlal and Amandeep were handed over to the village panchayat on Wednesday.
“The family has a clean past. We stand by them and hope they will come clean. It is unfortunate if they are really involved in the sacrilege incident,” said village sarpanch Baldev Singh.
Remanded in police custody
The court of judicial magistrate first class Shaveta Das on Wednesday remanded Rupinder and Jaswinder in six-day police custody. The police had sought a 14-day remand to probe the sacrilege incident at Bargari village. After the incident on October 12, the police had registered a case against the unidentified persons under Sections 295-A and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).