New Delhi: The man who was lynched for alleged sacrilege at a gurdwara in Kapurthala, Punjab, had over eight “deep, sharp cuts” likely to have been made by swords, a senior physician at the local civil hospital where his body was located, on the neck and other body parts of the man who was lynched for alleged sacrilege had been arrested, it said on Monday.
Police said the case had not yet been recorded and that their priority was to identify the man for whom they shared his pictures in the media and with police in other states.
The unidentified man, who appeared to be a migrant worker, was killed by a mob after he was accused of “disrespecting” the Sikh religious flag on Sunday morning at a gurdwara in the village of Nizampur, Kapurthala district.
He was the second person in Punjab to be lynched by a mob for alleged “sacrilege” within 24 hours. A person was lynched on Saturday after allegedly attempting to steal a sword from inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
A number of politicians, including Prime Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, have all condemned the alleged sacrilege, but not the lynchings. They have also claimed that the “sacrilege” incidents are a “conspiracy” to disturb peace and harmony in the state. Some have also linked the incidents to next year’s general election.
The police released Kapurthala Gurdwara manager Amarjit Singh, who was arrested for questioning, on Sunday night. He claimed that he saw the man attempt to disregard the ‘Nishan Sahib’ (religious flag) early in the morning after coming out for daily prayer.
However, the police said on Sunday that there were “no visible signs” of sacrilege on the Gurdwara, on the Kapurthala-Subhnapur road.
Sandip Dhawan, the civil hospital’s chief medical officer, said there were more than eight deep, sharp cuts to the neck, hips and legs, likely caused by swords, in addition to blunt injuries.
The exact number of injured will be known after the autopsy, he said.
Kapurthala’s chief superintendent of police, Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh, said the body would be autopsied after 72 hours if no plaintiff came forward.
The unclaimed body would be cremated by city officials, he said.
The victim’s body was kept in the morgue of the local civil hospital.
A police team is calling police officers from other states and has also asked health officials to do a DNA test to determine his identity, he said.
Khakh said police posted a photo of the man in newspapers.
The SSP has hired police officer Prabhdeep Singh in Kotwali to investigate the case.
In this case, no murder case has yet been recorded, he said.
A procedure according to § 295 A (intentional and malicious acts aimed at offending religious feelings of any class by insulting their religion or their religious beliefs) has so far been registered against the victim on report from the head of the Gurdwara.
Sidhu says that those accused of sacrilege should be “publicly hanged”
Punjab Congress Chairman Navjot Singh Sidhu apparently justified the killings on Sunday by saying that those accused of sacrilege should be “hanged in public.”
At a public meeting in Malerkotla district, he said: “Even today, conspiracies are hatched to disturb the peace in Punjab.”
“If there is sacrilege – be it in the Quran Sharif, the Bhagavad Gita or the Guru Granth Sahib – the guilty should be publicly hanged and given the maximum penalty under the Constitution because such incidents hurt our feelings,” he said.
“Anyone can make a mistake, but that is not a mistake, this is a conspiracy to weaken and end society,” he claimed.
In a tweet he added, “Punjab is built on a strong foundation of oneness and universal brotherhood established by Guru Sahib. No divisive forces can destroy the strong social fabric of the Punjabi community. Deliberate and malicious acts aimed at inciting religious sentiments should be treated with dissuasive punishment. (sic) “