Kapurthala Lynching: An Arrest Soon After Punjab Chief Minister's Remark

On Sunday, a man accused of trying to remove the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) at a Gurdwara in Kapurthala was chased and beaten to death by a mob in the presence of the police.

The Kapurthala case was the second case of lynching in just two days in Punjab last week

Chandigarh:

There is no evidence of sacrilege in the mob-killing of a man in Punjab's Kapurthala, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said today, shortly before a case of murder was filed against a Gurdwara caretaker.

On Sunday, a man accused of trying to remove the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) at a gurdwara in Kapurthala was chased and beaten to death by a mob in the presence of the police.

The caretaker of the Gurdwara, Amarjit Singh, has been arrested and charged with murder. Around 100 unnamed people are also listed in the case; 25 to 30 of them were armed, the police said.

The incident took place a day after another man was beaten to death at the Golden Temple in Amritsar over an alleged sacrilege attempt.

"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 (already registered in the case) will be amended," Mr Channi told reporters.

The police had also said earlier that it appeared to be a case of theft and that there were "no visible signs of a sacrilege attempt."

The man who was killed has not been identified. His body was taken away in a police gypsy and he was cremated by the city's civic authority.

According to the post-mortem 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 case involving sacrilege in a matter of 48 hours in poll-bound Punjab.

The day before, a man was beaten to death at the Golden Temple after he jumped into an enclosure where the Granth Sahib, revered by Sikhs as their 11th Guru, is kept. He was seen in a video picking up a golden sword as priests rushed to stop him.

As campaigning peaks for state elections early next year, the lynchings in Punjab have caused tension as sacrilege has been an emotive issue in the state.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is campaigning aggressively for his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab, has alleged that the killings are an attempt to disturb peace ahead of polls. He has also accused the state's ruling Congress and Mr Channi of failing to address these incidents and punish those responsible.

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