Punjab is on the boil again after the reported sacrilege of ‘Sri Guru Granth Sahib’, Sikhism’s holy book. The torn-up copy of the holy book was first found in the village of Bargari, in the Faridkot district on October 12 and then later at six other places in the state. In the Bargari village in Faridkot, a violent clash erupted between police and Sikh protesters in which two persons were killed.
Earlier this week, the Punjab police have claimed to have cracked one of the seven cases of sacrilege of holy books in the state with the arrest of two brothers, Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh who committed the offence, also revealing a murky Australian/UAE connection. Police also said the two were allegedly receiving instructions and funding from ‘foreign’ handlers in Australia and Dubai (UAE), also adding that they were in possession of the phone transcripts to back their claims. The arrests of suspects have pointed to an alleged conspiracy to set Punjab on fire.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) under ADGP IPS Sahota was constituted after the blasphemy incident in Bargari village Gurudwara in Faridkot and later, concluded that "the accused became soft targets of anti-national forces due to greed and ambition of becoming rich".
Sahota said the two brothers, in their early twenties, were arrested in connection with the first incident of sacrilege in the state, they came under the police radar on the suspected links with some radical elements in the past. The ADGP said more details of the investigations, including the foreign links, would be detailed in a couple of days as Punjab Police was finding the missing links and identifying persons operating from abroad and also their local conduits. Sahota did not provide the details of the accused abroad, saying "by doing so we will compromise with the investigations".
Punjab Police has later arrested one more suspect Hardev Singh bringing the total number of arrests to seven.
Punjab is on the boil due to series of incidents of sacrilege of 'birs' (scriptures) of Guru Granth Sahib at seven places in the past one week which led to protests by Sikh organizations, blocking traffic at various places. The protesters are demanding that all those they accuse of desecrating the holy book be arrested immediately and compensation to be provided to the families of the two men killed in the police firing.
Amid Sikh protests, the centre government has deployed 10 Border Security Force companies, comprising 1,000 personnel, at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Tarn Taran to maintain law and order. The state government has described the incidents as "unfortunate" and assured strictest punishments to the culprits and also asked people to do prayers.