- Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa stated in a letter to HM Amit Shah that âsacrilege of holy books is becoming a significant issue in Punjab.â
- TheÂ Deputy Chief Minister alsoÂ stated that âthe state has written to the Centre numerous times regarding the awaiting assent.â
- In Punjab, two people were beaten to death in less than 24 hours for alleged sacrilege.
In the aftermath of two lynchings for suspected sacrilege, Punjabâs Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa has requested the central to seek Presidentâs approval on two state Bills calling for harsher punishment in sacrilege cases.
The Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 cleared the Assembly in 2018 obtained Punjab Governorâs consent, and are now pending Presidentâs assent.
The laws state that anybody who causes harm or sacrilege to the Guru Granth Sahib, the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Quran with the intent of offending peopleâs religious sentiments faces up to life imprisonment.
In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday, Punjabâs Deputy Chief Minister said that âsacrilege of sacred scripturesÂ is becoming a big concern in Punjab.â
âShri Guru Granth Sahib is considered a living Guru and not an object by the Sikhs and it is accorded respect according to Sikh maryada,â he wrote.
The current legal provisions, which allow for up to three years in prison, according to the Deputy Chief Minister, are âinadequate to cope with this situation.â
âPunjab being a border state, it is extremely necessary to maintain communal harmony here. Deterrent punishment is required for anyone attempting to disrupt communal harmony by participating in sacrileges. So, I again request that the Presidential assent for the said Bills may kindly be obtained and conveyed to the State Government, at the earliest possible.â
In less than 24 hours, two people were beaten to death in Punjab for alleged sacrilege.
On Saturday evening, a man leaped into the enclosure whereÂ the Guru Granth Sahib was keptÂ at Amritsarâs Golden Temple. As priests attempted to subdue him, he was spotted taking up a golden sword. He was subsequently beaten to death.
Another guy was beaten to death the next day in Kapurthalaâs Nijampur district. While residents said they spotted him âdisrespectingâ the Nishan Sahib (the Sikh flag), police stated it looked to be a case of theft rather than sacrilege.