Kapurthala case not of sacrilege: Channi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Kapurthala case not of sacrilege: Channi

By, Hindustan Times, Kapurthala
Dec 25, 2021 01:46 AM IST

Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi said the investigation has revealed the story behind the case was different from what was being propagated earlier.

There is no evidence that a man who was lynched by a mob for allegedly trying to desecrate a Sikh flag at a gurdwara in Kapurthala earlier this week had attempted to commit sacrilege, Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi said on Friday.

“We did not find any sacrilege attempt or any evidence to back it,” Charanjit Singh Channi said. (HT File Photo)
“We did not find any sacrilege attempt or any evidence to back it,” Charanjit Singh Channi said. (HT File Photo)

The caretaker of the gurdwara has now been arrested on the charge of murder, and nearly 100 unidentified people have also been booked in the case, government officials said.

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The man, yet to be indentified but said to be in his twenties, was beaten to death at the gurdwara in Nizampur village of the district on December 19. Gurdwara caretaker, Amarjit Singh, alleged that he saw the victim “disrespecting” the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag.

Doctors who conducted the post-mortem examination of the deceased found 30 injuries on his body, including multiple stab wounds.

The incident, which came a day after a man was killed over a sacrilege bid at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, sparked strong outrage in the state -- both from people who were angered by the man’s alleged sacrilege attempt, and by those who stressed that politicians across party lines were not criticising his public lynching.

Punjab goes to the polls early next year, and sacrilege has been a burning issue in the state ever since a series of incidents alleging disrespect to the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, were reported in the state in 2015.

Channi said the investigation has revealed the story behind the case was different from what was being propagated earlier. “We did not find any sacrilege attempt or any evidence to back it. One person ran the gurdwara. This thing has moved to murder and an inquiry is on,” the CM said.

Jalandhar range inspector general of police Gurinder Singh Dhillon and Kapurthala senior superintendent of police Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh briefed reporters after the gurdwara caretaker’s arrest. Calling it a “well-planned conspiracy”, Dhillon confirmed that there was “no visible sign of sacrilege till now”.

“The youth was brutally murdered as part of a well-planned conspiracy which we are not able to detect yet. Amarjit planned everything and gathered his associates [for the lynching]. Many of them have not been identified yet,” he said.

“There are videos and photographs (of the day of the incident). Since an SHO was present (police reached the gurdwara when the victim was being beaten up), he will be able to identify them during investigation and due course of law will follow,” said Dhillon.

A pistol, from which two shots were fired on Friday with the intent to kill the man, has also been recovered, he said, adding that at least 25 people in the mob that thrashed the victim were armed.

Section 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and relevant sections of the Arms Act have been added in the first information report (FIR), Dhillon said, adding that a medical board has taken the victim’s samples for DNA testing to ascertain his identity.

Police initially filed a case against the deceased under Section 295-A (hurting religious sentiments) based on the complaint filed by the gurdwara caretaker.

Police suspect that the victim came to the gurdwara with the intention of committing theft, said the official said.

The man was cremated on Thursday eveningafter nobody came to claim the victim’s body, said senior medical officer (SMO) Narinder Singh.

Giving more details about the accused, the Jalandhar IGP said that Amarjit Singh came to Kapurthala in 2008.

He was earlier booked in a car theft case in 2016, but the police failed to establish his role and subsequently filed a closure report which was accepted by the court in 2019, Dhillon said.

Amarjit’s claim that the man attempted sacrilege was found to be contradictory after a video surfaced on social media on Sunday, where some Sikh leaders were questioning the deceased and Amarjit admitted that the deceased did not commit sacrilege with the Guru Granth Sahib. In another video, he was heard alleging that the deceased was sent “by someone from Delhi and was given money for executing the desecration”. HT has seen both the videos.

With PTI inputs

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    A staff correspondent, based in Jalandhar covers Doaba Region of Punjab. Reports about Punjab Police, Enforcement Directorate, politics, corruption, legal, rural areas, socio-economic issues and technical education besides having specialisation in the investigative stories.

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