CHANDIGARH:To check growing incidents of the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to tighten vigil in gurdwaras across the state. CCTV cameras are being installed and the number of sewadars (volunteers) in the gurdwaras will also be increased.
SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said, “Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are being installed in all gurdwaras across the state—whether they are under control of SGPC or not—to keep track of activities inside and around gurdwaras.’’
Work for installing CCTV cameras in over 480 gurdwaras controlled by the SGPC in Punjab is already underway. “We have asked managements of gurdwaras, which are not under SGPC control, to send applications for installation of CCTV cameras, if they cannot install cameras on their own due to lack of funds,” said Singh. He clarified there was no proposal to install CCTV cameras in SGPC-controlled gurdwaras in other states. In many villages, people have been holding thikri pehras (night patrols) to prevent incidents of desecration.
Sixteen cases of sacrilege of the holy book have been reported since October 12. The latest incident was reported on November 4 from the Tarn Taran district. Of the 16 cases, eight have been solved by the state police and three have been recommended to the CBI. The state government had submitted its report on the matter to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) when thirteen incidents had occurred and seven cases solved.
A miscreant was caught on CCTV camera stealing the holy book from a gurdwara in Moga, where the management recently installed cameras. However, the man is yet to be caught.
Pages from the holy book were found near a gurdwara in Bargari, Faridkot, on October 12. After this, the holy book was stolen from a gurdwara in Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village, Faridkot, and a few days later another incident of desecration was reported from Bath village in Tarn Taran. After which incidents of sacrilege occurred in Kohrian village (Faridkot), Mishriwala village (Ferozepur), two incidents in Ludhiana, Gurusar Mehraj village (Bathinda) Sarai Naga village (Muktsar), Aklia village (Mansa), Nijjarpur village (Amritsar-Rural) and Abohar (Fazilka).
More than six people linked to these incidents have been arrested. Two brothers, suspected to be involved in the Bargari case, were later released.
The report said the Guru Granth Sahib was stolen from Abohar in Fazilka on October 26, by unknown persons, after which CCTV cameras were installed in the gurdwara. Pages from the holy book were found under a blanket during a search of the premises and based on the CCTV footage, two people, Vijay Kumar and Sonu, were arrested. During interrogation, they admitted to stealing the scripture. When they returned to hide the pages, they were caught on camera.