Kapurthala lynching: CM says no sacrilege; Gurdwara caretaker arrested
There is no evidence of sacrilege in the case involving the mob lynching of a man in Kapurthala, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said on Friday. He added the First Information Report would be amended to include charges of murder. On Sunday, a man accused of trying to remove the Sikh flag at a Gurdwara in Kapurthala was beaten to death.
- The Punjab CM's statement marks a dramatic turn in the Kapurthala lynching case.
- The mob killing was reported a day after another man was thrashed to death at the Golden Temple in Amritsar over an alleged sacrilege bid.
- The incidents have flared up tensions in the poll-bound state where sacrilege has been a sensitive issue.
- Punjab is set to go to polls in 2022.
"We did not find any sacrilege attempt in Kapurthala or any evidence to back it. One person ran the Gurdwara. This thing has moved to murder and the inquiry is on. The FIR will be amended," Channi said at a press conference in Chandigarh.
Soon after Channi made the statement, Amarjit Singh—the caretaker of the Gurdwara—was booked for murder. He has since been arrested, reports say. Some 100 unidentified people are also named in the case. Police maintained there was no sign of sacrilege and the victim, said to be in his twenties, had come to the Gurdwara with the intention of committing theft.
The youth was beaten to death by a mob on Sunday with the post-mortem report stating there were 30 deep cuts on his body. He was cremated by the city officials as the victim remained unidentified. His killing occurred hours after a man was killed in Amritsar. He had jumped into a sacred enclosure and picked up a golden sword at the Golden Temple.
The alleged sacrilege and subsequent killings have triggered a blame game in Punjab politics. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is actively campaigning for his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), as well as other Opposition leaders have slammed CM Channi and his Congress party over the two incidents. The state government has also come under fire over a blast at a court complex in Ludhiana.