Man lynched at India's Golden Temple after 'sacrilege'

Claims of desecration at holy sites have been a flashpoint for violence in the country

Indian policemen stand guard outside the office of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the organization responsible for the management of Sikh temples near the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021.  A man was beaten to death Saturday after he allegedly attempted to commit a sacrilegious act inside the historic temple, one of Sikhs' most revered shrines.  (AP Photo / Prabhjot Gill)
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A man was lynched by worshippers in India after being accused of sacrilege at the holiest Sikh temple, police said.

The unidentified man in his 20s had jumped over the barrier of the Golden Temple's inner sanctum during Saturday evening prayers and grabbed a sword kept in front of the Guru Granth Sahib — the holy book of Sikhs, Indian police said.

We are finding out who this man was and who was with him
Parminder Singh Bhandal, police officer

“He bowed and then jumped into the sanctum sanctorum to grab the kirpan (sword). He was immediately held by others and dragged outside and beaten…there were 700 to 800 people. The incident took place at around 6.30pm,” Parminder Singh Bhandal, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, told The National.

“The man’s identity is not known yet as he wasn’t carrying any identity card but he seems to be around 20 to 25 years old,” Mr Bhandal added.

The police are checking the surveillance cameras at the temple premises to find out where the man had come from and the identities of those involved in the lynching.

“Although the killing is not seen in the footage, we can see people dragging and beating him near the community kitchen hall…we are verifying the footage. We are finding out who this man was and who was with him,” Mr Bhandal said.

An unverified video on social media showed the man’s bloodied body lying outside the office of the temple’s management.

Any act seen as desecrating the Guru Granth Sahib can become a flashpoint for violence in the Sikh majority state of Punjab.

The latest incident comes just four days after a man was caught by worshippers after been accused of throwing pages of the Guru Granth Sahib into the Golden Temple’s pond.

There have been scores of cases of alleged sacrilege and desecration of Sikh temples in Punjab and neighbouring regions.

In October, a labourer was killed and his limbs chopped off by Nihangs – Sikh warriors – after he was accused of desecrating a makeshift temple near a farmers' protest site in Delhi.

Videos of that incident showed the dead man tied to a metal barricade, with his limbs chopped off.

Updated: December 19, 2021, 11:12 AM