Kapurthala lynching: Gurdwara caretaker held for murder, CM says no sacrilege

Post-mortem report finds 30 injuries, including stab wounds, on body of unidentified youngster, who police suspect was at gurdwara to commit theft
Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi.(File photo)
Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi.(File photo)
Updated on Dec 24, 2021 01:12 PM IST
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ByRavinder Vasudeva and Gagandeep Singh

Soon after Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi announced on Friday that no sacrilege had taken place at the gurdwara in Kapurthala district last Sunday in which a youngster was lynched and a case of murder would be registered against those who committed the crime, the shrine’s caretaker was arrested.

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“No evidence has been found about sacrilege at the gurdwara in Nizampur village of Kapurthala district. The young man who was killed had not committed any sacrilege. The first information report (FIR) will be amended and a case of murder will be registered ,” Channi said at a press conference in Chandigarh.

The Kapurthala police, which had been maintaining that there was “no visible sign” of sacrilege, swung into action and arrested Amarjit Singh, the caretaker of the gurdwara, for murder. The police suspected that the victim, in his twenties, had come to the gurdwara with the intention of committing theft.

Amarjit Singh was detained by the Kapurthala police on the day of lynching but was released on Sunday evening to avert a law and order situation. The police had been maintaining since Sunday that there has been no sacrilege and disrespecting of the Nishan Sahib (a Sikh flag) at the gurdwara.

Hours after the incident, SSP Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh told the media that no sacrilege had taken place and the youngster was killed by a mob. But, at the press conference convened the same evening by the inspector general, the police retracted its statement.

Multiple stab wounds on victim’s body

On Thursday, a team of five doctors, entrusted with conducting the post-mortem, found 30 injuries on the body of the victim, who was lynched by Sikh groups on the suspicion of disrespecting the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag, at the gurdwara.

Officiating senior medical officer (SMO) Narinder Singh said the main injuries were on the neck, hips and the head. “There were multiple stab wounds on the victim’s body. We have collected viscera for further examination to check whether he had consumed any intoxicant. We have also taken samples of his teeth, hair and blood for the DNA test. The exact reason of the death will be clear from the final report,” he added.

The body was cremated after the post-mortem when no one came to claim it even after 72 hours.

Earlier, the police had registered a case under Section 295-A (hurting religious sentiments) of the Indian Penal Code against the youth on the statement of Amarjit Singh. His claim was, however, found to be contradictory. In a video that surfaced on social media, he admitted that the youth had not committed sacrilege with Guru Granth Sahib and even had food in the gurdwara. In another video, he is heard saying that the suspect was sent “by someone from New Delhi and was given money for executing the desecration”.

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