Punjab: Nihang kills ‘sacrilege suspect’ at Phagwara gurdwara - Hindustan Times
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Punjab: Nihang kills ‘sacrilege suspect’ at Phagwara gurdwara

By, Jalandhar
Jan 17, 2024 08:54 AM IST

One of the senior officials, privy to the probe, said the deceased has been identified as Vishal Kumar, who as per the documents found in his possession, was a resident of an orphanage in Haryana’s Sonepat.

A Nihang, Ramandeep Singh, allegedly murdered a man at Gurdwara Chaura Khooh in Phagwara early on Tuesday morning on the suspicion that he had committed a ‘sacrilege’, police said.

Police at Gurdwara Chaura Khooh in Phagwara, where a Nihang Sikh murdered a youngster early on Tuesday. (HT)
Police at Gurdwara Chaura Khooh in Phagwara, where a Nihang Sikh murdered a youngster early on Tuesday. (HT)

The police have, however, ruled out any sort of sacrilege and initiated a detailed investigation into the matter.

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The incident occurred at 3.15am, and the police managed to recover the 35-year-old victim’s body from a waiting area on the gurdwara premises at 10.10am. The Nihang was arrested around 12.15pm.

One of the senior officials, privy to the probe, said the deceased has been identified as Vishal Kumar, who as per the documents found in his possession, was a resident of an orphanage in Haryana’s Sonepat.

“Teams have been rushed to the centre for further verification. The police found a few Haryana-based addresses and mobile numbers from the victim’s possession,” an official said. Police have sent the body for a postmortem examination.

Punjab additional director general of police (law & order) Gurinder Singh Dhillon, who visited the spot, said teams have been formed to probe the incident.

“The police team led by Phagwara superintendent of police Gurpreet Singh has been constituted to probe the incident on the basis of all facts and merits,” Dhillon said.

He said the probe will be monitored by deputy inspector general of police (Jalandhar Range) S Bhoopathi and Kapurthala senior superintendent of police Vatsala Gupta.

The team will look into multiple angles including if there was any conspiracy and whether the man was bribed by someone for doing anything objectionable, he added.

The police have registered a case under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the Nihang and section 295A (hurting religious sentiments) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the man who was killed.

After killing the man, Nihang locked himself inside the gurdwara as the police cordoned off the area. Ramandeep also uploaded the video on social media taking responsibility for the murder. HT couldn’t independently verify the veracity of the video clip.

Police said as per the sequence of events on the complaint registered, the Nihang, who stays on the gurdwara premises, confronted the man over his purpose of visiting the gurdwara late in the night. In the FIR, the Nihang stated that he killed the victim in self-defence. The Nihang said the victim pushed him away and tried to take away his weapon.

The complaint said the man had entered the gurdwara at around 10 pm on Monday and was found hiding in a bathroom at around 2 am. When the Nihang confronted the man, he allegedly said that he was given money by somebody for carrying out desecration, which was “foiled”.

In the video uploaded on social media, the Nihang can be seen confronting the youngster on the purpose of his visit before overpowering and killing him with a sword.

Police said they do not have any footage of the victim approaching the sanctum sanctorum of the gurdwara and that the Nihang admitted that he acted on the basis of suspicion.

ADGP Dhillon said looking into the sequence of evidence it has primarily established that there are no signs or attempts of desecration inside the gurdwara premises by the victim.

“Prima facie, the sacrilege can be ruled out. However, the investigation is still on in the matter as two police teams have been formed for verification of the facts and evidences collected from the spot,” he said.

Dhillon said that IPC section 304 slapped against the Nihang could be converted into section 302 (murder) following further investigation.

“On the basis of further investigation, if needed, the sections will be added to the FIR. The police are also checking the CCTV footage in the area to ascertain facts in the case,” Dhillon added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Navrajdeep Singh is a senior staff correspondent. He covers agriculture, crime, local bodies, health and education in the Patiala district of Punjab.

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