In a disturbing twist to the recurrent incidents of Guru Granth Sahib desecration in Punjab, it has now been revealed that the country's intelligence agencies had alerted the state government against possible miscreant activity a few weeks ago.
According to a report in The Week, a senior state police official had sent a letter to all district police headquarters on 1 October, advising them to take necessary actions to prevent any untoward incidents.
The letter, which was accessed by several media agencies, said that a group of about 15 to 20 terrorists sent by Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, would be infiltrating India. Reportedly, these terrorists were trained by 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Sayeed. These militants were also being trained to emulate Sikh manners and customs by Ranjeet Singh, the Chief of Khalistan Zindabad Force, the letter added.
Now, the Punjab Police has claimed to have cracked one of cases among the incidents that took place in seven towns. They have arrested two brothers who had allegedly committed the crime in connivance with "someone in Australia". The seven affected towns are Ludhiana, Faridkot, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Muktsar.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) which had been instituted to probe the Guru Granth Sahib desecration incidents across the state, concluded that "the accused became soft targets of anti-national forces due to greed and ambition of becoming rich". The men, the police added, had been in touch with handlers in Dubai and Australia, adding that they had "clear and concrete evidence" of foreign funding in the cases.
This is reportedly the worst public crisis the Akali-BJP government has seen in its nine years of rule. Following the intervention of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, companies of Border Security Force (BSF) have reached Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Tarn Taran.
According to a report in the BBC, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had said that there was a "deep-rooted conspiracy" to target religious places in the state by "some anti-social elements". Badal has promised that anyone found guilty in "this unpardonable offence would not be spared at any cost and exemplary action would be taken against them so that it acts as a deterrent for others to indulge in such a dastardly act in future".