On the intervening night of July 1 and July 2, an Army officer identified as Deepak Singh was beaten mercilessly at a Gurudwara in Punjab over alleged blasphemy. Those who are justifying the killing have alleged that Deepak went to Gurudwara to disrespect Guru Granth Sahib. According to them, the caretakers of the Gurudwara noticed him, and on enquiry, he was unable to give a “justifiable” answer that led to his beating. The Police had rushed Deepak to the hospital, where he eventually succumbed to his injuries.
After learning that Deepak was an Army personnel and was posted in Arunachal Pradesh, the news caught the attention of the mainstream media, and soon it became a matter of discussion across the country. The main accused, identified as Daljit Singh Kashmir, is absconding since the incident. Those who come in his support are alleging that Daljit was not present at the scene when Deepak was being beaten up. He came later and helped the Police to put Deepak in their vehicle, they say.
Who all came in Daljit and others’ support?
Many people from the Sikh community who believe in a severe penalty for anyone who indulges in blasphemy came out in support of Daljit and others accused of the crime. Actor-turned-activist, a well-known Khalistani supporter and accused of rioting on Republic Day 2021, Deep Sidhu posted in favour of Daljit. He implied that the Police are falsely implicating the accused Daljit Singh in the matter. He calls Singh a sinner and claims that he died in the custody of the Police.
Another notable name that popped up during the last few days in support of Daljit was Kathavachak Barjinder Singh Parwana, who is a member of Damdami Taksal Jatha Rajpura. Parwana justified the killing and said Sikhs took justice on the spot, as law never punishes anyone for blasphemy. He added that Deepak came to commit blasphemy, and he did commit blasphemy, and he went to the extent of saying that if the person died after being beaten due to blasphemy, then it was justice.
Apart from these two, there were several posts on social media platforms that supported the killing of Deepak Singh over the allegations of blasphemy.
A call for burning the blasphemer alive
Notably, some time ago, a video of Baba Ravinder Singh Joni was making rounds on social media platforms in which he called for killing the blasphemer. In the viral video, Ravinder urged Sikhs to burn alive anyone who disrespects or desecrate Guru Granth Sahib. He further added that he would fight the case with the person if he or she burns someone who had desecrated Guru Granth Sahib. He went ahead to say he is ready to die for the cause.
In an interview with Akaal Channel, Joni said that Granth Sahib is considered to be God for Sikhs. They cannot tolerate disrespect of Granth Sahib in any form. While mentioning an incident of 2015 where an alleged mentally upset man had indulged in the act of desecration of Granth Sahib, he said since then, a new government had been formed, and elections are now on doorsteps. “Every government promise strict law against blasphemy, but no one fulfils it,” he said. Joni further added that there is a limit to everything, and now it is not possible to tolerate such incidents. According to him, SGPC should leave Akaal Takht if they cannot save Granth Sahib. He called for strict rules against Granthis, who leave Granth Sahib alone at any time of the day.
Joni believes that Section 295(a), under which a person can be booked for disrespecting someone’s religion and hurting religious sentiments, is good for nothing. According to him, as the offence is bailable, anyone arrested gets bail and roam freely.
Joni believes RSS indulge in ‘beadbi’
During the conversion, Joni mentioned that those including people from Deras, fake Sikhs, RSS members and Shiv Sainiks should not be given a chance to desecrate Guru Granth Sahib. Interestingly, Christian missionaries were not mentioned by Joni. In 2017, a Punjabi Christian was arrested for desecrating Granth Sahib. On the contrary to what Sikhs think of RSS, the members of RSS have been helping to bring Sikhs converted to Christianity back to Sikhism since 2014.
Police questions Joni for the video
As the video went viral on social media platforms, Police was informed about the video, and he was called to DC’s office for questioning. When Police urged him not to publish such content while asking people to take the law in hand, he countered Police and asked them to book anyone who desecrates Guru Granth Sahib under Section 302 as Supreme Court had passed a judgement considering Guru Granth Sahib, a juristic person. The video was removed by Facebook as it had hateful content as per its policies. However, several copies of the said video are still making rounds on social media platforms.
‘An eye of an eye’
During the interview, Joni even urged every religion to come together and force the government to pass a law against blasphemy in any religion. Joni said if someone kills the person who desecrates Guru Granth Sahib, he will stand with him. He also said he would pay 5-10 lakh to the person as a reward or whatever more he could pay.
Police deny blasphemy
In another video shared by Akaal Channel, Inspector Sukhpal Singh said they did not get any complaint of blasphemy. He told Police was informed at around 7:30 PM. Police rushed to the spot and found out that Deepak Singh needed to be rushed to the hospital. Singh succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Police further added that they had asked all Gurudwaras and other religious places to keep their CCTV cameras in good condition. “But when we asked the Gurudwara committee about the footage, they said the cameras are non-functional.”
Even CCTV & DVR is taken off by accused,— 🇮🇳ਪੌਰਸ PORUS🇮🇳 (@PorusofPunjab) July 3, 2021
& on run but local media & religi_ous organizations trying set a #fake Narrative against of blasphemy which not even took place #JusticeForDeepakThakur #JusticeForDeepakThakur #JusticeForDeepakThakur pic.twitter.com/HsXZ0FgziK
Deepak’s family demand justice
Onkar Singh, Deepak’s father, said they came to know about the incident the next morning that his son has been killed by two people at Gurudwara. He denied any knowledge of the reason behind the killing. Singh’s family staged a demonstration with his body and blocked the National Highway demanding case under 302 against the accused. The protests were called off after Police’s intervention. As per Republic World’s report, a case under Section 302 of IPC has been filed, and a manhunt has been launching to nab Gurjit Singh, Dalbir Singh and others who allegedly killed Deepak.
OpIndia tried to reach out to the investigation officer, but he was not available for comments. We will update the story soon.