2 sacrilege incidents in Morinda, Faridkot spark outrage; pastor among 3 held - Hindustan Times
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2 sacrilege incidents in Morinda, Faridkot spark outrage; pastor among 3 held

Apr 25, 2023 12:57 AM IST

Three people, including a pastor, were arrested over two sacrilege incidents that triggered widespread outrage across Punjab state. Protests broke out after a man allegedly hit two Sikh priests and desecrated the Guru Granth Sahib at a gurdwara in Morinda town. In a separate incident, two persons, including a local pastor, were arrested after torn pages of Gutka Sahib were found scattered on a road. The incidents were condemned by political leaders and religious figures.

Three people, including a pastor, were arrested over two sacrilege incidents that triggered widespread outrage across the state on Monday.

The accused in a sacrilege case being taken to a court in Faridkot on Monday. (HT Photo)
The accused in a sacrilege case being taken to a court in Faridkot on Monday. (HT Photo)

Protests broke out after a man allegedly hit two ‘granthis’ (Sikh priests) and desecrated the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ at a gurdwara in Morinda town. The Punjab police have arrested the accused identified as Jasvir Singh, alias Jassi.

In a video of the incident which surfaced on social media, Jasvir could be seen entering the sanctum sanctorum of historical Gurdwara Kotwali Sahib Kotwali after crossing the railing and then hitting two ‘granthis’ reciting Gurbani, and then flung the holy book on the ground. Jasvir was later overpowered by devotees present in the shrine and beaten up. He was then handed over to police.

Morinda police station in-charge Harsh Gautam said: “We have registered an FIR into this incident and have started investigations. A case has been registered against the accused under sections 295 A (deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

The incident sparked outrage among locals who held a protest outside the Morinda Police station, seeking strict punishment for the accused. Markets were also shut down in Morinda in protest against the incident.

The incident was condemned by chief minister Bhagwant Mann and other leaders cutting across political parties. Mann, in a tweet, said the Morinda incident was highly condemnable and guilty won’t be spared “Those who have committed the act of sacrilege will be given the strictest punishment,” he said. “The ‘beadbi’ incident at Morinda gurdwara is highly condemnable,” BJP leader Capt Amarinder Singh tweeted. Leader of Opposition in assembly, Partap Singh Bajwa urged the state government to give exemplary punishment to the accused.

At Golewala village in Faridkot district, two persons, including a local pastor, were arrested after torn pages of Gutka Sahib (holy book) were found scattered on a road. The accused have been identified as pastor Vicky Masih and Roop Lal, both residents of Sadiq in Faridkot.

Police said a Class 10 student found torn pages of Gutka Sahib when he was walking towards the local gurdwara around 10 am. The vehicle of the accused was spotted in a CCTV footage in which a person sitting on a co-passenger seat was seen throwing torn pages of Gutka Sahib on the road from a moving car. “With the help of the CCTV footage recovered from the spot, we traced the vehicle, and the accused were identified,’ said SSP Faridkot Harjeet Singh.

A case was registered under IPC Section 295A (deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class) at Faridkot Sadar police station.

The accused were presented in the court of duty magistrate Parshan Verma who sent them to four-day police custody. “We will be questioning the accused to ascertain the motive behind the crime,” added the SSP.

Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh demanded strict action against the accused. “These acts are aimed at vitiating the peaceful atmosphere of Punjab”, he added.

Condemning the incident, SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami said: “If exemplary punishments are given, no one will have the courage to commit such heinous acts.”

“It seems the deplorable act of sacrilege in Morinda is a devious ploy by the badly cornered AAP government to deflect attention from its ‘failure to maintain peace & communal harmony’. The real culprits must be identified & punished,” SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal tweeted.

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