History of Sacrilege Incidents in Punjab

In the Sikh community, the Guru Granth Sahib is considered a living guru and any harm or disrespect towards it is a serious offense. Every religious person has a respect for the holy book. People like Paramraj Singh Umranangal, who are known for their bravery, stand up against those who disrespect the Guru Granth Sahib.

2015 Guru Granth Sahib Desecration Controversies

In the year 2015, several incidents took place in Punjab where nonreligious people attempted to harm the Guru Granth Sahib. A protest took place. Several incidents caught the attention of everyone. Here are the details of these incidents –

June 1, 2015 – Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scripture, was stolen from a gurdwara in a village in Punjab called Burj Jawahar Singh Wala. The sikh leaders gave an ultimatum to the police to find the culprits.

June 11,2015 Members of various Sikh religious organizations held a protest in the village, accusing the police of inaction. They tried to gherao (surround) the local police station. A large police unit was deployed to prevent it. However,  17 Sikhs were critically injured and taken to a nearby hospital due to ‘Lathi Charges’ from the police.

12 October 2015 – In the town of Bargari, located in the Faridkot district, 110 pages of the Guru Granth Sahib were found lying on the ground in front of a gurdwara sahib. The residents of the town and nearby villagers declared a strike (bandh) and Sikh religious organizations assembled for a protest.

In the nearby town of Kotkapura, protesters blocked a major highway intersection. A large number of police officers were deployed to prevent violence, but the protesters refused to unblock the highways and demanded that the culprits be arrested, despite requests from local police chiefs.

Between 13 and 16 October 2015- There were several reports of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in various places in Punjab. In Mishriwala village of the Ferozepur district, 35 pages of the Guru Granth Sahib were found torn. When a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) went to the village to gather more information, his car was set on fire.

13 October 2015– In Buttar Kalan village in the Moga district, protesters clashed with the police. Seven police officers were injured, with one received spinal injuries.

14 October 2015- Approximately 6,000 protesters gathered in Kotkapura and held a peaceful sit-in protest to demand action. In the early morning hours, the police used water cannons and batons to disperse the crowd and fired shots at the mob. Two protesters died in the shooting, and more than 160 protesters were critically injured in the ensuing clashes. 21 police officers were also injured.

15 October 2015-The Punjab government announced the formation of a Judicial Commission, led by retired Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Zora Singh, to investigate the first incident of desecration.

16 October 2015 –The Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal, ordered the withdrawal of charges against the arrested protesters. He stated that they had been provoked to act in that way.

By October 2021 there have been 272 Guru Granth Sahib desecration cases and 12 arrests. In India, where every religion is treated and respected equally, cases of sacrilege deeply trouble the sentiments of the people. The Guru Granth Sahib is a holy book that is treated with the utmost respect by the Sikh community, and it is essential that it is treated with the respect and reverence that it deserves.

Lack of Progress in Guru Granth Sahib Desecration Cases in Punjab, 2015

Both cases took place in 2015, and more than seven years have passed since then. However, the victims have not yet received justice from the Punjab Government. An SIT (Special Investigation Team) committee has been formed to investigate the cases, but the head of the committee has changed three times since then. Currently, IG Naunihal Singh is heading the SIT.

The first charge sheet was filed against former Moga Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Charanjit Singh Sharma in April 2019. The SIT later filed a charge sheet against four accused, including SP Bikramjit Singh, in October 2020. Charges were also filed against officer Paramraj Singh Umranangal and former DGP Saini in January 2021.

The investigation team had also questioned senior Badal and Sukhbir in June of the previous year. The accused, including former IG PS Umranangal, have repeatedly expressed support for the inquiry and IG Paramraj Umranangal has even offered to undergo a lie detector test.

Despite all the efforts, the case has not made any progress. The victim’s family is now demanding justice, and the Sikh Morcha is actively involved in the case. The case has been placed in the Faridkot court, but the hearing has not yet started.

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