Sacrilege sparks tension in Punjab’s Sirhind, villagers block highway
Tension gripped Sirhind town on Monday after two incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib sparked anger among people who blocked the National Highway-1 connecting Delhi to Amritsar.
The accused was caught by people at Tarkhan Majra village and was mercilessly thrashed. They later handed him over to the police.
Following the incident, the irate residents of nearby villages and members of Satkar committee started converging at the Sirhind police station spot and later blocked the highway. This led to a massive traffic jam and ADGP law and order Ishwar Singh, Rupnagar range IG Amit Parsad and Patiala range IG Jatinder Singh Aulukh rushed to the spot to handle the situation.
The accused, identified as Sehajvir Singh, 19, is a resident of Nabha. His search yielded a prescription slip from a Patiala hospital, where he was undergoing drug de-addiction treatment for the past one year. The accused was identified by his father, who was also brought to the spot.
Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Amneet Kondal said Manjot Singh, sewadar of gurdwara at Tarkhan Majra, told police that the accused arrived at the shrine around 11 am and on the pretext of paying obeisance, he committed the sacrilege. “As I entered the gurdwara, I saw that the accused had torn pages of the Guru Granth Sahib. I raised alarm and overpowered the accused with the help of my father. Later, the villagers gathered and the accused was thrashed,” he said. Before he was taken away by the police, the accused confessed to have committed a similar act at Jallah village gurdwara, said the sewadar.
After his arrest, the accused tried to mislead the police by speaking in Hindi and hiding his identity saying that he was Sahil from Delhi. But after cops grilled him, he said he was from Nabha.
Two cases under section 295-A (hurting religious sentiments), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the IPC and 18, 20 of The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 has been registered against the accused, said the SSP. “The reason why accused committed such an act is still unknown and he will be thoroughly quizzed once we get his remand,” he said.
Kondal said after police assured a transparent investigation into the matter by involving the SGPC and the members of the Satkar committee, the protesters lifted the blockade at 9.30 pm.