A man accused of attempting to commit a sacrilegious act at Sikhism’s holiest temple has been beaten to death, according to police in Amritsar, India.
According to local media, the event occurred during a worship service at the city’s Golden Temple on Saturday.
The man allegedly barged into the inner sanctum, which houses the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism’s holiest book.
He then attempted to touch a ceremonial sword that had been put near the book, but was thwarted by guards and devotees.
The brawl occurred around 17:45 local time (11:45 GMT), and it was caught on camera while evening prayers were carried on television.
It’s unclear what transpired after that. The individual was found deceased when cops got on the scene, according to police, and an investigation is underway.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said in a tweet that he has directed police to “focus in” on the “underlying purpose and true conspirators behind this heinous deed.”
The incident occurs only days after another guy was arrested for reportedly tossing the Gutka Sahib, a miniature Sikh holy book, into a man-made pool surrounding the shrine.
The destruction of the Guru Granth Sahib is a highly charged topic among Sikhs.
Several desecrations occurred in 2014 and 2015, and it became a major political issue in the Pujab during the 2017 and 2019 elections.
Political opponents and many Sikhs have criticised the ruling Congress party for neglecting to bring justice to earlier sacrilege criminals.
On Saturday, Balwinder Bhunder, a member of the opposition Akali Dal party, blasted the latest event, telling local news source that it was a planned attempt “to weaken Punjab, which is India’s sword arm.”
“Over the last five years, certain people have turned it into a political game,” he added.