Two unidentified men were beaten to death by a group of people from the Sikh community, alleging the sacrilege of the holy book Guru Granth Sahib. Two incidents of lynching are reported from two different parts of Punjab in a period of a few hours. The first incident occurred at the holiest shrine of the Sikh community, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, on Saturday.
According to the local media, the alleged sacrilegious act took place during the prayer service around 6 in the evening. A rumpus was created in the shrine when an unidentified man around his 20s jumped off the inner altar where the holy book Guru Granth Sahib is placed.
The alleged culprit jumped off and barged into the inner province of the Golden Temple and grabbed the ceremonial sword, which was kept close to the Granth. The man was captured and was overpowered by the guards and the worshippers that were standing near the Granth Sahib. The evening prayer was being broadcast on the television as usual.
Sikhs regard the Guru Granth Sahib not just as a holy book but as a living Guru. They believe that the scripture should be given respect as equal to the respect given to a living saint.
It is still not clear what exactly happened next at the Golden Temple. The man was found dead when the police arrived at the scene. The investigation is underway, but no action has been taken against anybody who took law and order in their hands and killed the man mercilessly over the alleged act of disrespecting the holy manuscript.
Over the period of fewer than 24 hours, another alleged suspect was beaten to death by a group of people in the name of redeeming the esteem of their religious script. The incident was reported on early Sunday morning in Kapurthala where the captured man was accused of barging into the Gurdwara and was suspected of theft and with the intentions of attempting sacrilege. The deceased was accused of disrespecting the Nishan Sahib.
The lynching took place at the Gurdwara Nijampur Mod in Kapurthala. The senior superintendent of police told a media person that the manager of the Gurdwara, Amarjit Singh, suspected some thief entering the premises of the Gurdwara and informed other Sikh organizations. The very fresh incident of the sacrilege at Amritsar gave this a similar dimension.
The men from the Gurdwara went live on Social Media where the accused was seen to be lying on the floor with hands tied behind in an inhumane condition. By the time the video went viral, the Gurdwara was covered with a huge number of people fuming with anger.
The police arrived at the Kapurthala Gurdwara at around 7:30 am and the crowd was demanding the culprit to be dealt with by them. The SSP said that they tried a lot to convince the crowd that justice would be done after investigating the case, but the crowd filled with people of Sikh Organizations and the Gurdwara committee refused.
The police had to jostle with the mob for around three hours to get control of the room where the alleged suspect of theft and sacrilege was kept.
After that, The SSP said, “Further details are a matter of investigation. We will proceed in accordance with the law.” The angry mob took the matter into their hands despite police being present at the site. The crowd with the mentality of the mob killed the man who was only suspected, not proved to be a thief or have attempted any sacrileges act. The police said that they managed to take custody of the man and rushed him to the hospital, where he was declared dead.
This is not for the first time that humans are taking the lives of fellow humans to save the respect of their religious books/scripts/fundamentals, whatever name you may give. Lynching sadly isn’t something that we aren’t aware of as a country.
Everyone should be worried about the thought that we are living in a country where a mob is emboldened enough to deliver instant justice in any situation by taking life or lives, in a system that is governed by the law. No political figure or people in power have come forward and shed a few words of condemnation on those who took the law in their hand and beat the accused to death.
Politics in the name of religion is the easiest way to grab a fair share of votes in Indian politics for decades. Why is it so difficult to condemn lynching, especially when it is associated with religion and faith? There are ways to deal with sacrilege. There are laws for them. Only if we had a strong, unbiased, prejudice-free, credible law and order and people in power.