Punjab is on the boil again after a torn-up copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib — Sikhism’s holy book — was found in the village of Bargari, near Kot Kapura in Faridkot district on October 12.
As protests continued for the ninth day, and more such cases were reported from other districts, the arrests of suspects pointed to an alleged conspiracy to set Punjab on fire.
The arrests of two brothers, Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh of Panjgarayin village in Fardikot, on Tuesday over the Bargari incident revealed an Australian/UAE connection.
Police said the two were allegedly getting instructions and funding from handlers in Australia and Dubai (UAE) adding that they were in possession of phone transcripts to back their claim, Tribune reported.
The two, in their twenties, came under the police radar on suspected links with some radical elements in the past.
Police arrested one more suspect Hardev Singh from Kohrian Tuesday bringing the total number of arrests to seven.
After the Bargari sacrilege, six such incidents were reported from Ferozepur, Bathinda, Sangrur, Amritsar, Ludhiana, and Tarn Taran.
Five cases have been solved with the arrest of seven suspects, said Additional Director General of Police IPS Sahota who headed a special investigation team to probe the incident.
According to police, Rupinder was the more active of the two brothers. He became a baptised Sikh only six months ago. Their father ran a small shop in the village. The two acted for money and both went into hiding after the incident.
Rupinder and Jaswinder made the first call on October 15 at 10.37 am in which one Aman and an unidentified person figured.
As per the transcripts, Rupinder tells his brother that Aman will visit him (Jaswinder) along with another person and that he must arrange their meeting with him (Rupinder).
Expressing fear, Jaswinder tells him that such a meeting may expose their plan. Rupinder says the task is important adding that he has “some stuff of Maharaj…pages.” Jaswinder asks his brother whether he is referring to the torn pages. At this point, Rupinder cuts the call saying it is too risky to carry on the conversation further.
The second call was made on October 16 at 10.45 pm.
In it, the unidentified caller from Australia requests Rupinder to give his phone number to someone adding that he is standing with someone outside and that they can’t come.
Rupinder says the stuff may get into the wrong hands to which the caller says it may be delivered at Rupinder’s place.
At this point, Rupinder says: “Give the account number and ATM card to the Singhs. They may keep giving (money) as per services taken.”
The caller ends the call with: “Give me your account. I will deposit.”
On Tuesday, the Punjab Cabinet passed a resolution condemning these acts committed by anti-social elements to disturb peace and communal harmony in the state.
Amid Sikh protests, the centre government has deployed 10 Border Security Force companies, comprising 1,000 personnel, at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Tarn Taran to maintain law and order.
The protesters are demanding that all those they accuse of desecrating the holy book be arrested and compensation be paid to the families of the two men who were killed in police firing.