AS REPORTS of a wave of alleged desecrations of the Guru Granth Sahib gripped Punjab on Friday, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal alleged “a deep-rooted conspiracy” to disturb communal peace in the state. In a statement, Badal said “nefarious designs of fissiparous forces” were trying “to disrupt the peace and harmony in the state” and urged people to remain vigilant.
He exhorted the people of Punjab to prevent incidents of sacrilege of religious places across the cities and towns by remaining vigilant to ensure that the conspiracy did not succeed. Anyone found guilty would not be spared at any cost, he said, and added that exemplary action would be taken so that it acts as a deterrent to others.
Through the day, there were reports from several parts of Punjab about alleged desecrations of the Holy Bir. Tension gripped Mishriwala village of Ferozepur district when 35 torn pages Guru Granth Sahib were found. When an SGPC member from the adjacent village Darshan Singh Sherkhan went to find out the details, villagers damaged his car and torched a motorcycle on which he was trying to flee, forcing to him run.
Police lodged an FIR on charges of hurting religious sentiments against unknown persons but no action has been taken against villagers for torching the vehicle and beating up the SGPC member. Security has been beefed up in the area
Tarn Taran Police lodged an FIR against “unidentified persons” for the desecration of Gur Granth Sahib at Bath village after 39 pages of the holy book were found torn in the village Gurudwara. The torn pages were found by a woman volunteer. Police rushed to spot and booked unidentified people for the crime.
Villagers did not name any suspects but sat on a dharna accusing the administration of adopting a passive attitude in finding the culprits. Meanwhile the main bridge on the Satluj that connects Majha with Malwa remained closed for the second day in a row by those protesting the Faridkot incident.
In Faridkot, the granthi of the Kohrian village gurudwara reported a three-inch cut in 745 pages of the Guru Granth Sahib. Sarpanch Gurdev Singh said the village had decided against escalating the issue, but had lodged an FIR and would try to find the culprit. “Protests results in harassment to commuters and moreover at times innocent lives are lost, as it happened in Kotakpura. We don’t want a repeat here. So the whole village decided not to raise the matter,” Gurdev said.
In another instance, at village Sarai Naga in Muktsar, villagers found pages of Panj Granth torn and lying in the village. They sat on dharna with the torn pages of the Panj Granth. Police managed to keep the peace in village Gadani in Nawanshahr and surrounding areas, after three holy ‘birs” were found burnt on Friday morning. DSP Banga Sarabjit Singh Bahia said the fire in the Gurudwara last night had been caused by a short circuit. He had put it out with a fire extinguisher and help from villagers.
In the morning there was an ardas after which the ‘birs’ were sent off in a palki to Sri Goindwal Sahib for last rites as per Sikh maryada. Several religious, social and political leaders of the region were present on the occasion. SSP Snehdeep Sharma lauded the villagers for showing exemplary calm in this hour of crisis.
(With inputs from RAkhi JAgga, Anju Agnihotri chaba and Kamaldeep Singh Brar)
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