Following the brutal killings of two men in Punnab's Amritsar and Kapurthala on allegations of desecration of holy objects, Harjinder Singh Dhami, the head of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, told NDTV that he could not condemn the killings they involved the "sentiments and faith of the Sikh people.
"This wasn't the first sacrilege incident," Mr Dhami said. "In all the incidents of 'beadbi', or sacrilege, till date, none of the accused have been convicted... It is not a simple incident," he said, referring to the incident in 2016 when police fired on protestors who were agitated over a string of apparent sacrilege attempts in the state.
At the Golden Temple a man attempted to grab the holy sword kept in front of the Guru Granth Sahib. The second incident in Kapurthala involved a man who allegedly disrespected the Sikh flag. Both men were brutally lynched, with the Kapurthala deceased bearing deep cuts to neck and abdomen from apparent sword cuts according to police reports.
Mr Dhami also appeared to claim the mob killings were in 'self-defense'; "The rule of defense states that if someone tries to attack... you can counter-attack as well," he said. He did, however, also say: "The matter should be first enquired... then action should be taken."
Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu publically called for those accused of sacrilege to be hanged at a rally in Malerkotla yesterday, as sacrilege was an affront to the sentiments of the Sikh community and to society as a whole. His remarks come at a time when prominent politicians and parties in Punjab have remained silent on the issue, as tensions rise over assembly elections and the crucial Sikh voterbase which will play a role in deciding who wins.