A Sikh group in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protest the alleged desecration of their holy scripture in neighbouring Punjab state and sought action against the culprits.
Nearly two dozen activists of Sikh group, Gurmat Taksal J&K, demonstrated in Srinagar while condemning the incident that they termed as “painful and provoking”.
“It has now become a routine that pages of Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy scripture) are torn and desecrated. We, the Sikhs, can’t tolerate it now. If no action is taken against miscreants, responsible for such incidents, it will become a do or die situation for us,” Sukhbir Singh, head of Gurmat Taksal, said.
Two people died and many were injured on Wednesday when police opened fire on Sikh demonstrators in Punjab’s Faridkote district protesting the desecration of the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, revered as living guru by the Sikhs.
“Punjab government, as well as the Centre, have failed to expose and nab the culprits. It has hurt the sentiments of Sikhs,” Sukhbir Singh said.
He said recently ‘Saroop’ (embodiment) of Guru Granth Sahib was stolen. “These incidents have a potential of creating communal unrest. We don’t want any disturbance. We are peace loving community, but justice has to be done”, he added.
The protesters said the desecration is the handiwork of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and elements of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is part of the coalition government in Punjab.
“RSS and some BJP people are hell-bent on the communal flare-up in India. Minorities feel insecure today; it has raised questions over India’s democratic and pluralistic character,” they added.
The protesters raised pro-Khalistan, anti-BJP and anti-Punjab government slogans while burning the prime minister’s effigy.
As a large number of police personnel reached the protest site, the protesters dispersed peacefully.