'Hang those guilty of sacrilege in public', says Congress' Navjot Singh Sidhu at Punjab rally
Sidhu's remarks come at a time when most politicians in Punjab are treading very cautiously on the subject in the run-up to the crucial Assembly polls.
As Punjab witnessed two lynchings in two days at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and a gurdwara in Kapurthala district following allegations of sacrilege, state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday called for public executions for those guilty of desecrating religious texts, according to several media reports.
“We need to establish a voice of unity. The fundamentalist forces are disturbing our unity. However, whenever one religion is projected as higher and the other lower across the nation, Punjab always stands against it. All people are equal in Punjab. If there is any incident of sacrilege, whether it is of Guru Granth Sahib, Gita or Quran, the guilty should be hanged,” said Sidhu, addressing a rally in Malerkotla, as per Hindustan Times.
Sidhu condemned the alleged sacrilege attempts at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and at a gurdwara in Kapurthala, saying conspiracies are being hatched to disturb peace in the state, reported PTI. "Even today, conspiracies are being hatched to disturb peace in Punjab. Anyone can make a mistake, but this is not a mistake, this is a conspiracy to weaken and finish the society," he said, as per PTI.
The culprits should be given the maximum punishment under the Constitution because such incidents hurt our sentiments, Sidhy added, as per DNA.
Sidhu added that "deliberate and malicious acts" intended to outrage religious feelings should be dealt with deterrent punishment, as per PTI.
Sidhu also tweeted:
Punjab is built on strong foundation of Oneness & universal brotherhood laid down by Guru Sahib.. No divisive forces can destroy strong social fabric of Punjabi Community. Deliberate & malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings should be dealt with deterrent punishment pic.twitter.com/x8TPRLfCEO
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) December 19, 2021
Sidhu's remarks come in the backdrop of political leaders across the spectrum condemning the incidents of alleged sacrilege, but saying very little about the killings.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, too, has slammed the the alleged sacrilege attempts, but has remained mum on the lynchings.
The Chief Minister yesterday visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, where the first incident took place. His official handle tweeted that he has assured that the matter will be "thoroughly probed to unmask real conspirators". He also urged people to be "vigilant" and "take care of all religious places/institutions".
Sacrilege cases, which was a key issue in the Punjab's last Assembly polls too, have yet again taken centre stage in the run-up to the Assebly polls. A faction within the Congress has also accused the erstwhile Amarinder Singh government of failing to address the last series of alleged sacrilege incidents.
As for the police action in the cases, none of the two people beaten to death, at Amritsar's Golden Temple and in Kapurthala, have been identified yet.
Amid the tension over the incidents, police have stepped up security near gurdwaras.
With inputs from agencies
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, sentenced Navjot Singh Sidhu to one-year rigorous imprisonment in a 1988 road-rage case, saying any undue sympathy to impose an inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system and undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law
Navjot Singh Sidhu's one-year jail sentence puts the focus on road rage incidents, which has often turned fatal in the country
Earlier in the day, the Congress leader had urged the Supreme Court to grant him more time to surrender citing medical conditions