There is no evidence of sacrilege in the killing of a man by the mob in Kapurthala, Punjab, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said today, shortly before a murder trial against a Gurdwara caretaker began.
On Sunday, a man accused of removing the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) from a gurdwara in Kapurthala was persecuted and chased to death by a mob in the presence of police.
The Gurdwara caretaker, Amarjit Singh, was arrested and charged with murder. In this case, around 100 nameless people are also listed; Police said 25 to 30 of them were armed.
The incident occurred the day after another man was beaten to death in the Golden Temple in Amritsar for an alleged attempt at sacrilege.
“We did not find any attempt at sacrilege or evidence for it in Kapurthala. One person directed the Gurdwara. This thing turned into murder and the investigation is ongoing. The FIR (already registered in the case) is being changed, ”Mr Channi told reporters.
Police had also previously said it appeared to be a case of theft and that there was “no visible evidence of an attempt at sacrilege”.
The man killed was not identified. His body was taken away in a police gypsy and he was cremated by the city administration.
According to the autopsy report, he was attacked with a sharp weapon and there were 30 deep cuts on his body.
Initial reports had claimed that this was a second sacrilege within 48 hours in polled Punjab.
The day before, a man was beaten to death in the Golden Temple after jumping into an enclosure where the Granth Sahib, venerated by the Sikhs as their 11th guru, is kept. In one video he was seen picking up a golden sword as priests rushed to stop him.
While the state election campaign culminated early next year, the lynchings in Punjab created tension as sacrilege was an emotional issue in the state.
Delhi Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is aggressively promoting his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Punjab, has claimed the killings are an attempt to disrupt the peace before the elections. He has also accused the state’s ruling Congress and Mr. Channi of failing to address these incidents and of failing to punish those responsible.