- The incidents happened in 2015 in Punjab
- They led to protests in different parts of Punjab
- Two people were killed when police fired at protesters
A special investigation team of the Punjab Police has summoned Hindi film actor Akshay Kumar, former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in connection with the sacrilege incidents in the state in 2015.
"The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the police firing incidents in the wake of the Bargari sacrilege case has summoned the Badal father-son duo and actor Akshay Kumar for questioning in connection with the investigation next week," the Punjab government wrote on its official Twitter handle.
"While former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has been asked to appear before SIT on November 16, former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has been summoned on November 19 and Akshay Kumar has been asked to come on November 21, at the Circuit House in Amritsar," the Punjab government further said.
The first incident of sacrilege in this series took place in June 2015 at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in Faridkot district. Then on October 12, 110 pages of the Guru Granth Sahib were found desecrated at the Bargari village in the same district. A number of incidents of desecration took place across Punjab in the following days.
The sacrilege incidents led to protests in different parts of Punjab with people demanding action against those responsible. Two people were killed in Behbal Kalan in Moga district when police fired at protesters. The police fired at protesters at Kotkapura in Faridkot district as well.
Soon after coming to power, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh appointed an inquiry commission under Justice (retired) Ranjit Singh to probe the sacrilege and firing incidents. The commission found that the sacrilege incidents were linked to the Akal Takht's pardon to controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a blasphemy case, allegedly secured by the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. The commission also alleged that Sukhbir Badal, who was also the home minister at that time, was kept in the loop on the police action at Kotkapura.
According to reports, the allegation against Akshay Kumar is that he played a role in mediating between the Badals and Ram Rahim. After the controversial godman was convicted of rape last year, Mr Kumar had denied ever meeting him. However, his wife Twinkle Khanna in January last year had tweeted a picture of Ram Rahim, saying he had moved into their neighbourhood.
The Punjab assembly had on August 28 passed the unanimous resolution withdrawing the investigation into the into sacrilege incidents from the CBI and handing over the cases to the SIT.
So far the SIT has examined a number of current and former police officials as well as the former legislator from Kotkapura, Mantar Singh Brar of the Shiromani Akali Dal.