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Punjab: SIT formed to probe 'sacrilege bid' at Golden Temple

Updated on: 19 December,2021 05:11 PM IST  |  Amritsar

Punjab Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said an SIT has been constituted under the deputy commissioner of police (law and order), which would submit its report in two days

Punjab: SIT formed to probe 'sacrilege bid' at Golden Temple

Golden Temple. File Pic/AFP

A special investigation team (SIT) has been set up to probe an alleged desecration attempt at the Golden Temple in Amritsar even as police are trying to ascertain the identity of the man, who was beaten to death after the incident.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa held a meeting in Amritsar with the deputy commissioner, the police commissioner, the inspector general of police (border range), the Amritsar Rural SSP and other officials after the incident. He said an SIT has been constituted under the deputy commissioner of police (law and order), which would submit its report in two days.

The accused spent a few hours at the "Parikarma" of the holiest shrine of Sikhs, Randhawa said, adding that he was "here with an aim". A case was registered against the unidentified man late on Saturday night under IPC sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 307 (attempt to murder), Amritsar Police Commissioner Sukchain Singh Gill said.

He said footage obtained from all the cameras at the Golden Temple is being examined to collect information about the accused. The footage shows that the man entered the Golden Temple around 11 am on Saturday and slept for a few hours in front of the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs, the police commissioner said.

The incident occurred after 6 pm and he had spent several hours in the Golden Temple before committing the crime, he added. The man jumped across the railings inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Golen Temple, picked up the ceremonial sword and reached near a place where a Sikh priest was reciting the holy Guru Granth Sahib.

He was caught by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) task force members. When he was being taken to the SGPC office, the angry "sangat" (congregation) thrashed him badly, which subsequently led to his death. Randhawa said he spoke to the SGPC president and the Akal Takht Jathedar after the incident.

He said the man was yet to be identified. "No mobile phone, no purse, no identity card or Aadhaar card was found from him. It has been established that he entered (the Golden Temple complex) around 11 am and remained there for a few hours until the incident," the deputy chief minister said. CCTV footage from all the nearby as well as other areas of the city is being scanned to ascertain from where he came to Amritsar and from which location he reached the Golden Temple, Randhawa, who also holds the home portfolio, said.

Gill said the "first focus" is to establish the identity of the accused and police are also trying to ascertain from the CCTV footage whether anyone was accompanying him. "We are scanning the CCTV footage to see which route he took to reach the Golden Temple," he said, adding that photographs of the man have been widely circulated so that he is identified at the earliest. The police commissioner said the post-mortem examination of the deceased is being carried out and a viscera examination will also be conducted to check if he had consumed any intoxicant.

Randhawa said it is a matter of great sorrow that such an incident took place at the Harmandar Sahib, from where the message of universal communion is conveyed to the mankind. He said while speaking to SGPC officials, it has been suggested that the SGPC task force should also form its own intelligence wing.

Replying to a question, the deputy chief minister said it was a very unfortunate incident and the police will get to the bottom of it. He added that help was also being taken from the SGPC for a thorough probe. Randhawa said the Punjab Police, in association with the SGPC, will ensure that all the gurdwaras in the state have CCTV cameras, which should be fully operational.

Replying to a question, he said inimical forces have always tried to disturb Punjab's peaceful atmosphere, but Punjabis have defeated their nefarious designs. The deputy chief minister reiterated that Punjabis will tackle such attempts with communal harmony. He said peace and harmony in the state would be maintained at all cost.

Randhawa also issued directions to the director general of police (DGP), all the police commissioners and senior superintendents of police (SSPs) to ensure round-the-clock security around all the gurdwaras, temples, mosques, churches and other religious places in the state.

Also Read: Second man beaten to death for alleged sacrilege attempt in Punjab in 2 days

To another query, Randhawa pitched for severe punishment for acts of sacrilege and said the Punjab Assembly had passed bills in 2018, proposing amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to make desecration of religious texts punishable with life imprisonment. Earlier, several political leaders condemned the alleged sacrilege attempt at the Golden Temple.

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