By Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa
On Saturday, December 18, 2021, a man was beaten to death after attempting to steal a ceremonial sword that is kept next to the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's holy book, during prayers inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. The event was caught on camera in the video below.
I strongly condemn this attempt of sacrilege inside of Darbar Sahib, Amritsar today evening.
The person has been caught, but it is alarming how such an incident can take place inside the premises of Darbar Sahib.#darbarsahib #goldentemple #amritsar pic.twitter.com/BoD4lo5d6S
— Avtar Singh Hit (@avtarsinghhit) December 18, 2021
The temple’s Granthi continued to recite prayers while the thief, according to witnesses, attempted to strike the holy book with the sword, which is considered a sacrilege. The man was stopped by security but was overtaken by the worshipers and ultimately beaten to death. His body was left outside the gate of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee.
Deputy commissioner of Amritsar police, Parminder Singh Bhandal, was at the scene after the murder. “While the employees were taking him to the office, some of the other devotees present in the shrine beat him up so much that he died upon reaching the office,” He explained to the Hindustan Times.
The identity of the murder victem remains unkown. "The man, about 20 to 25 years of age, had a yellow cloth tied on his head,” Bhandal added.
The timing of the robbery and murder comes during heated times in the region, as the 2022 Assembly elections are underway. This is not the first time sacrilege has occurred in the temple; just 3 days prior, a man was handed over to the police for allegedly tossing a holy book into the sarovar- the pond which surrounds the Golden Temple. Cases relating to sacrilege are, in fact, notorious to the Sikh community in India, and are often swept under the rug.
In a press conference in Fazilka, Punjab, MP and candidate Sukhbir Badal said, "We do not want to do politics, we want culprits to be caught. Since no culprit was caught in the last 5 years, they were emboldened."