A man was beaten to death after he allegedly attempted to commit "sacrilege" inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Saturday evening. The man hailed from Uttar Pradesh and was seen in a video, jumping inside a fence, to reach the Guru Granth Sahib in golden temple.
The incident drew sharp reactions from political leaders, with Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi ordering a probe into it.
The incident took place when the man jumped golden grills inside the sanctum sanctorum, picked a sword and reached near the place where a Sikh priest was reciting the holy Guru Granth Sahib.
The man was caught by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) task force members.
When he was being taken to the SGPC office, angry crowd thrashed him badly that later led to his death.
Deputy Commissioner of Police PS Bhandal said the man, hailing from UP, could be around 25 to 30 years of age and his antecedents are being verified.
All CCTV cameras are being checked to know when he entered the Golden Temple and how many people were with him.
After the incident, a large number of Sikh devotees and various Sikh outfits slammed the SGPC for its laxity.
A heavy police force has been deployed around the SGPC complex at Teja Singh Samundri Hall to maintain law and order.
Several political leaders condemned the alleged sacrilege attempt at the Golden Temple.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi ordered a probe into the matter.
"CM @CharanjitChanni strongly condemned the most unfortunate and heinous act to attempt sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Harimandir Sahib during the path of Sri Rehras Sahib," according to a tweet by the Chief Minister's Office.
"CM directed state police authorities to thoroughly probe into entire matter to zero in at the underlying motive and real conspirators behind this dastardly act. CM also called SGPC president and assured his government’s full support and cooperation to get into the bottom of the case," said another tweet.
Akali stalwart and five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal described it as a "heinous attempt", which was "deeply shocking and exceedingly painful".
Badal said the crime was too reprehensible for words and it has caused "deep anguish and outrage in the minds of the Sikh masses all over the world".
Badal said it was unbelievable that "such a painful and brazen crime could be committed at the holiest shrine of humanity" by a single individual, adding that the possibility of a deep-rooted conspiracy behind it cannot be ruled out.
He said the whole "conspiracy" needs to be probed, exposed and those behind it be given exemplary punishment.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too condemned the incident and said the culprit should be strictly punished.
"Everybody is in shock. This could be a big conspiracy. The culprits should get the harshest punishment," said Kejriwal in a tweet.
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed shock and disbelief at the incident.
In a statement here, Sukhbir Badal said it is impossible to believe that this could be the act of just one person.
"There is clearly a deep-rooted conspiracy behind it," he said.
The former deputy CM said there seems to be a conspiracy to "disturb peace and communal harmony in the state".
He criticised the state government, saying that there were strong indications of such a conspiracy was being hatched.
"Only the other day, there was a shocking incident of ‘gutka sahib’ (holy book) being thrown into the holy ‘sarovar’. After that, the state agencies could not have been unaware of a deep-rooted conspiracy that led to today's shocking sequence of events," he said.
"But no one did anything nor took any steps to prevent such a heinous crime from happening. What are the intelligence agencies doing," he asked.
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa also condemned the incident and asked the Punjab government to unearth the conspiracy behind it.
In a statement, Sirsa said the incident has sent shock waves throughout the world as never in the history of Darbar Sahib such an attempt has been made.
He said the "failure" of the Congress government in solving previous sacrilege cases has resulted in repeat of such incidents.
He said it should also be probed why such incidents occur at the time when elections are round the corner.
Congress MP Preneet Kaur also expressed deep shock over the incident.
"Deeply shocked and appalled by the attempted beadbi of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at Sri Darbar Sahib today. The matter should be probed properly to ascertain the real culprits behind this brazen attempt," she tweeted.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma also condemned the incident.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Harjinder Singh said the incident has caused "spiritual pain" to Sikhs all over the world.
"It is a matter of great sorrow that such an incident took place at Sachkhand Sri Harmandar Sahib from where the message of universal communion is conveyed to all mankind," he said.