A videograb shows the man trying to desecrate the sacred Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple.
A man was beaten to death in India for allegedly trying to commit an act of sacrilege at the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikh faith.
Local media reported that the unidentified man jumped over a railing into the temple’s inner sanctum during Saturday evening prayers in the northern city of Amritsar.
Broadcaster NDTV said the man tried to grab a sword kept in front of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, when he was stopped by worshippers and later beaten to death.
Police told New Delhi Television that the man was killed after the incident and that they were checking CCTV footage to glean more information.
“The man, about 20 to 25 years of age, had a yellow cloth tied on his head and jumped the fence … the people inside held him and escorted him out to the corridor where there was a violent altercation and he died,” Parminder Singh Bandal, deputy commissioner of Amritsar police, told the channel.
Punjab state chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi condemned the man’s “most unfortunate and heinous act” in a series of tweets from his office late Saturday.
Channi also ordered a probe to find out the “underlying motive and real conspirators behind the dastardly act.”
Defence of the Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh shrines against desecration is a highly sensitive issue for the community.
Sikh devotees gather to pay respect at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Sunday. AFP
Former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984 after she ordered a brutal army assault on the Golden Temple to flush out separatists.
Her killing sparked a bloody pogrom in the capital New Delhi, which left nearly 3,000 Sikhs dead.
In 2015, a controversial biopic of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak was pulled after protests prompted by his depiction in human form, which is against the tenets of the religion.
And a group of Nihang — a warrior order within the Sikh faith — tortured and killed a man on the outskirts of New Delhi in October after accusing him of desecrating the holy book.