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"No Regrets": 'Nihang' Who Claimed Brutal Killing At Farmers' Protest


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any person who has been stupid enough to complain about how barbaric and how we should let the authorities deal with justice and punishment I have come back with the point that if you side with the GO

The BJP and indian media are spinning this to be a dalit hate crime....completely ridiculous. The fauja are by and large made up of Mazabi Singhs (Dalits). The fauja don't live in fear of the corrupt

The last thing that needs to happen in India today is for a Dalit or anyone else of similar status to be killed at the hands of a Sikh. If a vulnerable, desperate person is being paid off by higher po

Posted Images

17 minutes ago, Whatdoiknow said:

don't have more context to this video, however the original post says the person's hair is 'shorn' - you can see it at 0:29...

 

i think the insinuation is that this is all staged?

 

does anyone have any more info on this?

 

that did not look like the same guy plus his sir de kesh were coloured with dye (reddish brown) somebody claimed he was new nihang that's why hair were short but the portrait pics showed taller more built guy who had farla and that takes years to attain .

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https://www.opindia.com/2021/10/watch-nihang-sikh-breaks-leg-of-poultry-farm-worker-for-not-giving-chicken-singhu-border/

Watch: Nihang Sikh breaks leg of poultry farm worker at Singhu border for refusing to give him chicken

 

A Nihang named Naveen Sandhu, who is involved in the 'farmers' protest, had assaulted the worker who supplied chicken near the Singhu border. In a fit of rage, Naveen Sandhu purportedly broke the poultry worker's leg when the latter refused to give him chicken.

 
 
21 October, 2021

 

The Nihang Sikhs camping at the Singhu border have been in the headlines ever since they brutally lynched a Dalit labourer Lakhbir Singh. Now, once again, reports have emerged where another Dalit worker has fallen victim to their rage. A poultry farm worker was allegedly beaten up at the border area for not yielding to the demands of a Nihang Sikh.

The incident reportedly took place on Thursday, October 21. Two videos of the worker, whose leg is alleged to have been broken, have also surfaced online.

A report by the Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar, suggests that a Nihang named Naveen Sandhu, who is involved in the ‘farmers’ protest, had assaulted the labourer who supplied chicken near the Singhu border. In a fit of rage, Naveen Sandhu purportedly broke the poultry worker’s leg when the latter refused to give him chicken.

In a video shared by Newsroom Post, the injured victim, a poultry worker named Manoj Paswan, sits helplessly on the floor while narrating his ordeal. Manoj, who is a native of Bihar, said that he had come from the farm and was going to deliver the chicken when a “Sardarji” demanded chicken from him. The injured worker further added that he refused to give a chicken to the Sikh as he was carrying a limited and accounted quantity of poultry.

At this point, Manoj Pawan took out some slips from his pocket and showed them in the camera. He claimed that the slips were proof that he had counted number of chicken pieces that he had to deliver, hence he could not spare one for the Nihang. He said he conveyed the same to Sandhu who refused to listen to him and started assaulting him.

Reportedly, another boy who was accompanying Paswan was also beaten up by Sandhu, but he managed to slip out. He then ran back to the poultry farm and informed the people there as to what transpired.

After this, the people of the farm reached the spot and caught the Nikhan Sikh who assaulted Manoj Paswan and handed him over to the Kundli police. 

Manoj Paswan works with Satyavan, who runs a chicken shop at Kundli Border. Satyavan told that he has a business of supplying chicken in Kundli and nearby villages. Manoj has been supplying chicken in the villages for 15-16 years. On Thursday too, as usual, when he came out on his rickshaw with chicken from the shop, the Nihang stopped and beat him on the way.

Another video that has gone viral shows Paswan lying on the stretcher of a hospital, saying, “I showed the Nihang the slips of the poultry numbers as well. While I was taking the slip out of my pocket, a beedi came out with it as well. The Nihang abused me for it and said ‘you smoke beedi‘. When I said that everyone smokes beedi, I do as well but do not smoke here, he beat me up again.”

Reports suggest that the accused Sanghu belongs to the Nihang sect that is headed by Baba Aman Singh.

Series of attacks conducted by Nihang Sikhs

Prior to this, the Nihang Sikhs had made it to the news for the brutal execution of a Dalit Sikh labourer at the Kundli border farmers’ protest site just outside of New Delhi on Friday morning.

He was found hanging with his limbs chopped off and tied near his body. A group of Nihang Sikhs were seen admitting to the murder on claims of disrespecting the Guru Granth Sahib.

Following the incident, a video went viral on social media in which the Nihang Sikhs were not only heard justifying the murder of the man in cold blood but also gloating about the sheer barbarity inflicted by them on Lakhbir Singh.

While it may be difficult to forget the scars of this heinous act, this is only one of several recent incidents in which Nihang Sikhs have ruthlessly mutilated and killed people in recent times.

In April last year, a group of five Nihangs, armed with swords and iron rods, had attacked two policemen and chopped off the hands of ASI Harjeet Singh.

Two weeks after the aforementioned incident, a Nihang Sikh identified as Tej Singh allegedly attacked two locals in Mandayali village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh over a small argument. While one victim’s four fingers were chopped off, the other received severe injuries on the head.

 
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3rd world Country where truth will be buried and everything will be tarnished with fake gossips, propaganda ONLY to divert the major issue on our hand which is “Beadbi”

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Amid ‘storm’, Nihang Sikhs decide t ..


 

 

NEW DELHI: From Wednesday morning, Nihang Sikhs began arriving in small groups at Singhu border to decide whether they should continue to be a part of the year-long farmers’ protest there. Many of them carried their weapons, mostly swords, and were also joined by a few women protesters. Outside the assembly venue, there were tables where the names of those who had come to attend the meeting were being listed as were their views on whether the Nihangs should stay or leave the protest site.
The lynching of Lakhbir Singh for allegedly desecrating the Sikh holy book on October 15 hung heavy over the conference. He was hacked with a sword and his hand and leg chopped off before his body was tied to the police barricade. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of the farmers’ unions, had distanced itself from the gory incident and said, “We want to make it clear that both the parties to this incident, the Nihang group and the deceased person, have no relation with Samyukt Kisan Morcha.” Later, police arrested four men in the case, all of them Nihang Sikhs.
The mixed reactions to the involvement of the Nihangs in the incident propelled the community to hold Wednesday’s meeting to discuss the future course of action. The discussions started around 2pm, and the first speaker, Raja Ram Singh, one of the heads of the Nihang Jathebandis, said that in other similar cases of sacrilege, the Nihangs had caught the suspects and handed them to police without ever getting justice.
Gurdeep Singh Bhatinda of the United Akali Dal said sacrilege occurred regularly, forcing the Sikh community to take justice into its own hands. "In my view, this justice is correct,” he said. “We cannot tolerate sacrilege."

 

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https://www.theweek.in/theweek/current/2021/10/28/family-of-the-murdered-dalit-sikh-seeks-speedy-justice.html

Family of the murdered dalit Sikh seeks speedy justice

 By Pratul Sharma Issue Date: November 07, 2021 Updated: October 31, 2021 10:35 IST
50-Lakhbir-SinghQuest for justice: Lakhbir Singh’s sister Raj Kaur and her daughter show a poster made by a Dalit organisation demanding justice for him | Sanjay Ahlawat

A POLICEMAN FROM the local intelligence unit stood outside the house of Lakhbir Singh, the dalit Sikh labourer who was allegedly murdered by the Nihangs. The charge is that the quasi-monastic order of Sikh warriors killed him at Singhu border, near Delhi.

Lakhbir was killed for allegedly desecrating the Sarbloh Granth, a Sikh holy book. Lakhbir’s two-room house is in the Mazhabi Sikh cluster in Chima Kalan village, barely five kilometres from the Pakistan border in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district. The starkness of his room was unnerving. It was sparsely furnished, with just old pictures of Sikh gurus on the walls. Lakhbir’s sister, Raj Kaur, had gone to the bank, so her room was locked.

Kaur returned an hour later, along with her 11-year-old daughter. She is yet to recover from the shock of her brother’s death. “On October 10, Lakhbir asked me for some money so that he could go to a mandi in the nearby Chabal Kalan village to find work,”said Kaur. “I gave him 050. It was only six days later that I came to know what happened to him, when boys in the neighbourhood saw videos on their mobile phones.”

Kaur, who works at the village sarpanch’s farm, had repeatedly recounted her final meeting with Lakhbir to the police and other visitors. “I don’t know how he ended up at the Singhu border, or with whom he went, or whether he was lured by someone. But I am sure he cannot be involved in sacrilege,”she said.

Kaur shared a special bond with her brother as the siblings grew up together in challenging circumstances. “I was adopted by my paternal aunt and her husband, Harnam Singh, who was with the BSF, as they did not have any children,”she said. “A few years later, they adopted Lakhbir as well. My biological father and our two brothers stay in a village a few kilometres from here. We rarely visit them.”

Kaur said Lakhbir was a drug addict and an alcoholic. He started using drugs after cross-border smuggling increased. As his addiction became severe, his wife returned to her parents, with their three daughters. Kaur then moved in with Lakhbir as her husband had died a decade ago. Their adopted parents, too, had died by then, and the family gradually slipped into abject poverty.

Tough life: Lakhbir SIngh’s house in Chima Kalan village in Tarn Taran in Punjab | Sanjay AhlawatTough life: Lakhbir SIngh’s house in Chima Kalan village in Tarn Taran in Punjab | Sanjay Ahlawat

“We supported each other. Sometimes when he earned, he brought home money; sometimes he took money from me. He used to drink and smoke, like most people here do. He loved my daughter, Priyanka. He often brought her chips and candies, her favourite snacks,”said Kaur. “Lakhbir was never a sociable person, he rarely went to meet relatives or hung out with friends, we don’t even have his pictures.”

Lakhbir’s brother-in-law, Sukhchain Singh, said his sister has been living with him for the past six years as Lakhbir had no steady income. “He has not met them for the past several years,”he said. “But what happened to him is wrong. If he had done something wrong, then he should have been handed over to the police. Everything looks fishy. They did not even allow us to hold Sikh prayers after his cremation.”

As sacrilege is a sensitive issue, and with elections around the corner, political parties are treading with caution. Former BJP MP and minister Vijay Sampla, who heads the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, had invited the family to Delhi. “He promised that the CBI would look into the incident,”said Sukhchain. “All four girls (Lakhbir’s daughters and niece) will get free education till graduation. One family member will get a job. We decided that Raj should get it as my sister is a bit hard of hearing. She will receive widow’s pension.”

Leaders of dalit organisations, including Azad Samaj Party’s Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, visited the family. But the family is being shunned by their neighbours, who are mostly upper caste Jat Sikhs. Some religious leaders even objected to Lakhbir’s last rites being performed according to Sikh rituals, forcing the family to do it hurriedly. Yet, not many people believe that Lakhbir could have done the alleged desecration by himself.

Moreover, there is no clarity about how Lakhbir reached Singhu, which is nearly 450km from Chima Kalan. “Lakhbir was known to be an addict. He could not even go to a nearby city on his own. The matter needs to be investigated,”said Sonu Cheema, the village sarpanch. Two of Harnam Singh’s friends and colleagues, Gurmit Singh and Nirmal Singh, too, said it was hard to believe that Lakhbir was behind the sacrilege.

Gurmit, who retired from the BSF, highlighted the vulnerability of border villages like Chima Kalan. “We have been witnessing smuggling from across the border since our childhood. Earlier it was gold, then weapons, drugs and even cattle. Now there are drops through drones,”he said. With such a long border, interception is not easy. “Smugglers have made huge fortunes, while local addicts readily become carriers,”said a villager.

While the dalit Sikhs, who serve as farmhands, and Jat Sikhs, who are landowners, have always shared a tense relationship, the agitation against the Narendra Modi government’s farm laws brought them together. But the issue of sacrilege is a deeply sensitive one.

Punjab witnessed widespread protests in 2015 when the Guru Granth Sahib—the holy book which is treated by Sikhs as a living guru—was desecrated on multiple occasions. Two protestors lost their lives in police firing back then and the issue turned out to be a major headache for the Akali Dal government and also for the Congress government which replaced it. In July this year, a soldier was lynched on suspicion of desecration inside a gurdwara in Gurdaspur district.

Sikh historian Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon said the Sikhs had earned the nation’s goodwill for their work during the pandemic, but Lakhbir’s murder had become a major blot. “It was wrong. God has given us life, but not the right to take someone’s life. The Sikh worldview is of love. This one act of the Nihangs has brought us discredit,”he said. “What is happening is beyond the comprehension of the Sikhs. At times it appears like a government conspiracy. Look at how a Nihang with several criminal cases was seen with the Union agriculture minister.”Dhillon was referring to a photograph showing Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar with Nihang leader Baba Aman Singh.

The incident has brought the Nihangs under the scanner once again. A warrior group set up in the 17th century to assist Sikh rulers, defend Sikh territories and protect gurdwaras, the Nihangs still retain many of their age-old beliefs, customs and practices. Although the consumption of cannabis is banned in Sikh religion, the Nihangs use it for a special concoction, which they believe keeps them battle-ready. Their blue attire and massive turbans adorned with symbols of Sikhism have largely remained unchanged.

The Nihangs played a stellar role in fending off attacks by foreign invaders, especially during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839). Their exploits are part of the rich Sikh lore as they defended their faith and the Sikh empire. However, as the Sikhs lost political power, the Nihangs were relegated to the background. They, however, kept their sect alive, adding new recruits and also by maintaining their own gurdwaras and deras.

Two Nihangs, Sarabjit Singh and Narain Singh, have been arrested in connection with Lakhbir’s murder. The Punjab Police and the Haryana Police are involved in the investigation.

Lakhbir’s family, meanwhile, wants speedy justice so that his name could be cleared of the allegation of sacrilege. “My brother will not return. The only thing I hope for is that his name is cleared of this grave charge,”said Kaur. “It is difficult to live with this stain.”

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https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-explainer-why-the-alleged-desecration-of-holy/399815

 

One Month Later: A Nihang Sikh And A Journalist Discuss The Lynching At Singhu Border

To understand issues such as Beadbi and the caste angle (given the deceased was a Dalit) Outlook spoke with two people - Gurjeet Singh, a Nihang Sikh and a local priest, and Kamaldeep Singh Brar, a political journalist - to help us understand the issue and the sharp reactions it elicited.

Published: 04 Nov 2021, Updated: 05 Nov 2021 1:47 am

A 35-year-old man was beaten to death at Delhi’s Singhu border last month by the Nihang order of Sikhs over alleged desecration of the Sikh holy book. This has brought Sikhs, Nihangs and their religious practices into the news. The incident infuriated the nation as the victim’s hand and foot were chopped off and he was tied upside down from a barricade, where he bled to death. The incident has polarised many within Punjab and beyond it.

To understand issues such as Beadbi and the caste angle (given the deceased was a Dalit) Outlook spoke with two people - Gurjeet Singh, a Nihang Sikh and a local priest, and Kamaldeep Singh Brar, a political journalist - to help us understand the issue and the sharp reactions it elicited.

“Guru Granth Sahib or Adi Sri Granth Sahib Ji is more than scripture or a book for Sikhs; they regard and respect the Granth as their living guru. Before passing away, Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave this message to the Khalsa Panth (followers of Sikh religion): ‘Sab Sikhan ko hukum hai Guru manyo Granth’, meaning ‘All Sikhs are commanded to take the Granth as their Guru’. So, Sikhism has 10 gurus in human form and the 11th is in the form of the Granth. Guru Granth Sahib Ji not only has the teachings (gurbani) of all the gurus, but also the writings of saints like Kabir, Bhagat Ravi Das Ji and other compeers of Islam and Hinduism who believed that God is one and condemned casteism and superstitions. Any scripture carrying guru ki baani is important,” explains the Nihang Sikh who is also a Granthi of a gurdwara in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur area.

 

“Beadbi means being disrespectful towards Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It can be interpreted in so many ways. For me, beadbi is an insult to the gurus, the maryada, Sri Dhan Guru Granth Sahib ji Maharaj. For instance, when you enter the premises where Guru Granth Sahib Ji or any part of it is kept, you have to follow certain rules like covering your head, not wearing shoes, being clean, not consuming alcohol, tobacco and non-vegetarian food. Always wash your hands, face and feet before touching Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Even wrong pronunciation of gurbani is regarded as beadbi,” says Gurjeet Singh.

“But lately beadbi has become a common practice with instances of Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s pages being torn, even burnt. Unfortunately, nothing has been done in this matter. ‘Sade Guru di raksha appa jaan de kiti hai, Sikhi sanu saukhi nhi mili asi kamai hai’ (We always laid our life for Guru, we have earned Sikhi with many sacrifices and it was not easy),” adds Singh.

When the incidents of sacrilege have been happening for the past few years, why was such a gruesome step taken now?

“The incidents have been happening in the past, but the law and justice system failed to punish the culprits. The last incident of beadbi added fuel to the fire of rage, as an alleged Dera follower threw a lit cigarette on the Jathedar performing kirtan at Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara, which is one of the five takhts of Sikhism. Gurudwara is regarded as one of the safest places, but such an incident happening in the presence of everyone was a huge disrespect. It is the duty of Nihang Sikhs to protect the guru and the place where guru sahib resides. The accused was handed over to police, but the damage was done.

The incident at Singhu border happened under the nose of Nihang Sikhs and this was their personal failure. As the accused Nihangs said, lynching of Lakhbir Singh was an act to create fear in the public that guru sahib cannot be disrespected under any circumstances,” explains Kamaldeep Singh Brar.

Do you think the killing of Lakhbir Singh could have been prevented if the police had succeeded in catching the culprits in past cases of sacrilege?

“When a person is charged with blasphemy, he/she can be booked only under section 295A of Indian Penal Code. And in many cases the definition of blasphemy varies from person to person. For example, Guru Granth Sahib Ji is just a book for others, but for Sikhs it is their Guru! So yes, strict laws are needed to prevent such incidents not just for Sikhs, but for people of other religions too, as one should not play with someone’s beliefs or try to harm religious places or symbols.

I’m sure the justice system tried its best to investigate these incidents, but they are sensitive issues, and many times there was no evidence, and even if arrests were made, the accused were either poor or mentally unstable, or the police had no evidence against them. The sacrilege incidents are political conspiracies; we all understand that, yet cannot prove it.

I don’t know whether the murder of Lakhbir Singh could have been prevented or not, but what I do know is we need strict laws to tackle matters like this,” says Brar.

Do you think the fact that Lakhbir Singh was a Dalit who touched the holy book is why the Nihangs killed him?

“No, caste has nothing to do with this. In fact, two accused in murder case, Narain Singh and Sarabjit Singh, are also from the Dalit community (They are Majhabi Sikhs). In Sikhism, there is no caste...everyone is allowed inside gurudwara sahib, can eat langar in the pangat and even become Granthi (ceremonial reader of Guru Granth Sahib Ji) provided the person is in Sikhi suroop (Amrit dhari Sikh). Akal Takht’s Jathedar is a Dalit Sikh and many raagi jathe are Dalit Sikhs!

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‘We Burnt All Her Photos’: Dalit Woman Lynched For ‘Disrespecting’ Sikh Holy Book Shunned Even By Own Family

bySwati Goel Sharma-Nov 8, 2021 08:42 AM
 
‘We Burnt All Her Photos’: Dalit Woman Lynched For ‘Disrespecting’ Sikh Holy Book Shunned Even By Own FamilyA view of the Ramdasia gurudwara in village Ghawaddi, Ludhiana
Snapshot
  • Since 2016, at least four people have been extra-judiciously killed by Sikh extremists for “sacrilege” of holy texts in Punjab.

    Here's the detailed account of the first victim of these killings Balwinder Kaur, a 48-year-old woman from Ludhiana.

When Lakhbir Singh was dismembered and lynched by a group of Nihang Sikhs at the Singhu border farmer protest site last month, few realised that it was only the latest in a series of killings over ‘disrespect’ to Sikh religious texts.

Since 2016, at least four other people have been extra-judiciously killed by Sikh extremists for “sacrilege” of holy texts in Punjab. These include two women.

 
 

The first victim of these killings was 48-year-old Balwinder Kaur from Ludhiana. Accused of tearing some pages of Guru Granth Sahib – the central text of Sikhism – Balwinder was shot dead by two Sikh youths in 2016.

They owned up to the killing in front of the media.

“We don’t regret killing the woman. It was to avenge the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib,” one of the accused, Gurpreet Singh, was quoted in the media.

Gurpreet and Nihal Singh made the statement outside a court where they surrendered a few days after shooting Balwinder dead.

A visit to Balwinder’s village this week – Ghawaddi in Ludhiana district of Punjab – revealed that her own family shunned her after the sacrilege incident.

She was not allowed to step into the village again. Her body was denied cremation space.

Her son Ranjodh Singh told this correspondent that after the incident, he burnt all photographs of his mother.

The house where Balwinder lived after marriage and raised her children, has no trace left of her at all.

 
From left to right: Balwinder Kaur; Gurpreet and Nihal Singh; and Balwinder and Granthi Sikander after arrest
 
From left to right: Balwinder Kaur; Gurpreet and Nihal Singh; and Balwinder and Granthi Sikander after arrest Various publications

Ranjodh, 32, recalls the night when his mother revealed to him the sacrilege incident. He doesn’t remember the date, but it was in October 2015.

Ranjodh sings at Jagrata and Mata ki chowki for a living. That night, he returned from work around 3am. Two hours later, Balwinder woke him up and told him that “someone” had torn pages from a copy of Guru Granth Sahib kept at the local Ramdasia gurudwara and strewn them on the floor.

“I was enraged. I told her that we must raise the issue in the village,” he told Swarajya on 6 November at his house in Ghawaddi.

Ranjodh belongs to Chamar caste, which is a scheduled caste. In Punjab, converts to Sikhism from Chamar caste are known as Ramdasia or Ravidasia.

The village, with about 1200-1500 houses, has four gurudwaras. One is called “kisaana da” (of farmers, referring to land-owning Jatts who make up half the population of Ghawaddi). Others are called “Mazhabi da” (of Valmikis, also a scheduled caste) and “Ramdasia da” (of Chamar caste). A fourth gurudwara is named after a saint called Baba Shaheed.

Balwinder had been working as a sewadar (sewa volunteer) at the Ramdasia gurudwara for about eight years. She had taken up the work after death of her husband. She was tasked with sweeping and mopping the gurudwara premises besides other cleanliness-related work.

 

Ranjodh says when his mother told her about the torn pages, he repeatedly asked her if she knew who was the culprit. “She kept saying she did not. She also repeatedly denied any role,” he says.

Nevertheless, as the matter picked up and police arrived in the village, they arrested Balwinder, Ranjodh as well as the Granthi of the gurudwara, Sikander Singh.

They were kept in the lock-up for a week. Asked if their names appeared in the first information report (FIR), Ranjodh says they did not and police told him that they were arresting them for their own safety.

Nihangs had started streaming in the village from Ludhiana city.

Nihangs form an order of the Sikh community, characterised by blue robes and large, decorated turbans, seen carrying arms such as swords and spears. This “warrior” sect traces its history to the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

Police often struggle to control Nihangs and make them follow law and order.

In the recent Singhu border case where Nihangs severed the hand and foot of Lakhbir Singh, which led to his death, their leaders told the media that four of their men had surrendered to the police and if the police dared to make more arrests, they would forcibly get even those four released.

The leaders also issued statements that the sect would continue to lynch people accused of sacrilege of Sikh holy texts.

In the Ghawaddi case, preliminary police investigation pointed the needle of suspicion at Balwinder.

 
Entrance to the village, Ghawaddi
 
Entrance to the village, Ghawaddi
A view of the Ramdasia colony
 
A view of the Ramdasia colony
Entrance to Ramdasia or Ravisadia gurudwara in Ghawaddi
 
Entrance to Ramdasia or Ravisadia gurudwara in Ghawaddi

Ranjodh says she did not protest much either, making even her family suspect she was indeed the culprit.

While Ranjodh was released, Balwinder was booked under IPC sections 295A and 34 and spent another two months in jail. The Granthi was booked too, but under IPC section 201 for disappearance of evidence.

Asked about her possible motive behind the act, Ranjodh says “it’s between her and Rabb (God)”. He refuses to say anything more.

News reports of that year say that Balwinder kept changing her statement to the police. At one point, she said a local Congress leader promised her money in lieu of carrying out the sacrilege.

Police told the media that she was a long-time Shiromani Akali Dal member, but the party denied it.

A Hindustan Times report said that Balwinder carried out the act as a “conspiracy” to get the Granthi sacked. The new Granthi had replaced her elder son Ranjeet Singh. Balwinder was unhappy with the change as earnings from the gurudwara had dropped. She had hoped that the blame would fall on the Granthi and he would be shown the door.

Investigation revealed that when she disclosed the sacrilege incident to the Granthi around 4am, he asked her to stay mum about it.

Asked if villagers, particularly the Jatts, harassed him or his family for what his mother was accused of, Ranjodh says, “If they did, would I be still living in this village?”

Ranjodh says that the first thing he did after returning home from jail was to collect all pictures and belongings of her mother and burn them. “She had ceased to mean anything to me,” he says.

Ranjodh says it was his mother who had initiated her into the Sikh tradition. “We were Sikhs alright, but had not been baptised. I used to be clean-shaven, but soon after my father died, my mother took me to a gurudwara in Ludhiana for Amrit sanskar,” he says.

After the ceremony, he gave up meat, alcohol and tobacco and began to sport a beard – traditions he maintains till date.

“I am thankful to her for this,” he says. “But given what she did to Guru Granth Sahib, she lost all respect in my eyes.”

Sikhs consider Adi Granth, a collection of nearly 6,000 hymns of the Sikh Gurus, as a living Guru and worship it like a deity. Thus the name, Guru Granth Sahib.

The book is the central object of worship of the Sikhs. As per an edict issued by the Akal Takht in 1998, the rights of printing the book are reserved with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). Any other institution seeking to publish the text must take permission from the SGPC.

When Balwinder was released on bail in December 2015, the family made her stay with relatives in Ludhiana. She had been ex-communicated from Ghawaddi. Ranjodh says she did visit once or twice, but stealthily in the night.

She was shot dead in July 2016. The key accused, Gurpreet Singh Jagowal, was found to be a member of a Malerkotla-based organisation called Muslim-Sikh Front of Punjab.

Police investigation revealed that Gurpreet and co-accused Nihal had lured Balwinder to meet them outside Gurudwara Manji Sahib in Alamgir by promising her that they would take her to the Golden Temple for an apology at the Akal Takht so she can be pronounced “clean” thereafter.

The sarpanch of Ghawaddi refused her family’s request to let her be cremated in her own village. She was consigned to flames at a cremation ground near Arora Cinema in Ludhiana. Even that was opposed by locals and had to be done under tight police security.

No one from her village, other than some family members, attended the funeral.

Ranjodh is indifferent to the murder of her mother. He even calls it “inevitable”.

“This had to end this way. There is no other punishment for sacrilege of our Guru other than death,” he says.

Asked if he is justifying a murder, Ranjodh becomes more cautious. “Well, ideally she should have been hanged by the government.”

“But God perhaps wanted it this way,” he adds.

 
A view of the village
 
A view of the village

Elsewhere in village, residents decline to comment on the case calling it “an old matter”. A family living near Ranjodh’s house, also from Ravidasia community, says they do not know about the case at all.

A group of elderly residents soaking in the sun helped with directions to the Ramdasia colony, but politely declined to either share any detail of the case or get clicked.

Ranjodh declined to get any picture of him or his house clicked, citing risk to his and his children’s lives.

 

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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On 10/16/2021 at 2:18 PM, dharamyudh said:

No surprise there. Indian media is also painting this out to be a Dalit hate crime. 

The Nihang Singh who did this was himself an ex-Dalit Hindu

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