Bathinda: A sheer ‘misunderstanding’ of facts led to communal tension in Muktsar and Ferozepur districts of Malwa region of Punjab on Monday. According to information, two youngsters belonging to Valmiki community were riding a motorcycle on Sunday late evening with the holy book of Ramayana in hand. They were intercepted on the way to their village Shivpur Kukrian from Ranjit Garh village from where they procured the holy book for holding a religious event in the remembrance of a woman who passed away recently.
The mob from villages Lopo and Gehari, as learnt, mistook them as thieves suspecting them carrying a ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib in hand. Unwilling to listen to the two motorcyclists, identified as Naginder Singh and Daleep Singh of Shipur Kukrian village, the mob attacked them and also snatched the holy book of Ramayana from their possession. After the two reached the village, it annoyed their kin and they all decided to take the matter to its logical end. Following the decision, a large number of people from Valmiki community across the state gathered in the village on Monday and took out a protest march seeking action against the assailants.
The protesters asked the administration to take action against the accused who assaulted their community members without any guilt and also demanded strict punishment for snatching the Ramayana from them, terming it a grave disrespect to their holy book. Claiming that the whole episode amounted to hurting religious sentiment of the whole of Valmiki community the agitators warned the police administration to arrest the accused till Wednesday, with a mention that failure to do so would amount to a provocation to lodge fierce protest across the state. Sensing the situation, a large number of police personnel were deployed in and around the village.
Besides, a case against unidentified persons was also slapped registered in this regard at Muktsar Sadar police station. Meanwhile, police learnt that a copy of Ramayana was traced from near Guruharsahai in Ferozepur district, which triggered fresh round of tension and now the epicenter was Guruharsahai. A huge posse of police from Ferozepur was rushed to the spot that later called the Muktsar counterpart to come and verify if it was the same book that had been snatched from the two youngsters of Shivpur Kukrian. The cops in huge cavalcade took the members of Valmiki community including the two youngsters from whom the holy book was snatched to Guruharsahai, who reportedly verified it to be the same book. On the other hand, the agitating members of Valmiki community accused police of shielding the assailants for them belonging to upper caste. Brushing aside the allegations, senior cops of Muktsar claimed that they were probing the matter in details and handling the situation quite cautiously.
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