Updated: December 25, 2021 11:44:28 am
Five days after the lynching of a youth at a gurdwara in Kapurthala district, police Friday booked the gurdwara granthi, Amarjit Singh, on the charge of murder and arrested him. Police also booked around 100 unidentified people, including 25-30 “accomplices” of Amarjit, and claimed recovery of a pistol used in a firing incident that day.
While they ruled out any desecration and called it a murder, police said they were looking at the possibility of the killing being part of a conspiracy to “sensationalise” the sacrilege issue.
The youth, who remains unidentified but is suspected to have been a migrant labourer, was killed on December 19, a day after a lynching at the Golden Temple in Amritsar over an alleged act of “sacrilege”. An autopsy report showed 30 wounds on the body of the youth killed in Kapurthala.
The granthi’s arrest followed a statement by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi Friday that investigations into the Kapurthala incident had not found any evidence of desecration. “The youth was lynched. The investigation is pointing towards a murder,” he said at a press conference.
Jalandhar zone IG G S Dhillon said they were probing the matter as a murder from day one, but wanted to be certain before ruling anything out. Police had maintained from the beginning though that they had found no evidence of desecration.
Amarjit, who was sent to two-day police remand, had been named earlier in a case of a stolen car in 2016, police confirmed. The Nawanshahr police had registered a case under Sections 411 and 483 of the IPC, but the car remained untraced and the case was cancelled by the court in 2019.
It was on Amarjit’s complaint that the first FIR in the Kapurthala case, on charges of hurting religious sentiments, was registered. Now charges have been added to it under IPC Sections 302 and 307 (murder and attempt to murder), among others, as well as under the Arms Act.
Denying any desecration of the Nishan Sahib (the religious flag) as alleged by Amarjit, the IG said the accused had called his accomplices before beating the youth to death.
A mob of around a hundred had attacked the youth after granthi Amarjit alleged that he was caught in a bid to desecrate the Nishan Sahib in the wee hours. Three of his videos making the allegations, giving different versions of what happened, had gone viral. In one of them, he urged Sikhs to assemble at the gurdwara and punish the youth before handing him over to the administration.
The youth was beaten up in the presence of senior police officers, as the mob refused to hand him over. Among those present was Kapurthala Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh.
The Kapurthala police has sent the photos of the killed youth to police stations across the country to try identify him. His samples have been taken for a DNA test.
The five-member board that conducted his post-mortem found nearly 30 injuries on the youth, mostly sharp, deep cuts, suspected to have been inflicted by a sword, on his neck, hips and head.
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