Jalandhar: Post Mansoorpur sacrilege, admn orders theekri pehras at villages, towns : The Tribune India

Jalandhar: Post Mansoorpur sacrilege, admn orders theekri pehras at villages, towns

Police surveillance increased, villages, gurdwaras asked to depute men on night watch; order to be in place till Feb 6

Jalandhar: Post Mansoorpur sacrilege, admn orders theekri pehras at villages, towns

Residents hold theekri pehra at a village. File photo



Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, December 7

Following a day of heightened tension at Mansoorpur village and a stand-off between the police and Sikh leaders after the sacrilege incident at the village, the district administration today issued an order to all village panchayats and tehsil/blocks and towns to ensure theekri pehras in their areas as well as religious places at night.

Under Section 3 of the Village and Small Towns Patrol Act, 1918, and Section 144 of the CrPC, District Magistrate Jaspreet Singh ordered theekri pehras (night watch) from 8 pm to 5 am to be observed by adult persons of good health in all tehsils, sub-tehsils, towns and villages falling within the limits of Jalandhar district. The DC’s orders stressed on theekri pehras at religious places on a priority basis.

Villages asked to be on alert

Villages have certainly been asked to be on alert. We will be talking to village sarpanches on the issue and holding meetings with them. Gurdwara managements have also been activated to be wary of any untoward happenings or unscrupulous elements around gurdwaras. We have asked them to not just depute granthis or other personnel on night watch but also ask such persons to be alert at night so no incident skips their attention. —Swarandeep Singh, SSP Jalandhar

The orders also stated that every Nagar Council, Nagar Panchayat and village panchayat in abidance of Section 4(1) of the aforesaid Act, ensure the deputation of duties regarding the same in their respective jurisdiction areas and ensure prior information regarding the person on duty to their local police station chief. The order would be in place until February 6, 2023.

Notably, while theekri pehras have been a continuous practice in the the state/region during medical or security emergencies, the rise of sacrilege attempts and associated incidents have caused the security set up as well as the district administration to go in an overdrive to ensure security at religious places. Theekri pehras were also being held during the Covid pandemic but with the numbers subsiding, many villages began to discontinue the practice.

After the recent sacrilege incident at the Mansoorpur village too, concerns were raised that had there been men on night watch at the gurdwara, such an incident could have been averted.

Across the village and towns of Jalandhar, there are hundreds of places of worship. While some villages have high-profile gurdwaras and deras, some of the villages have four to six places of worship in a single village.

The rural police had also been asking panchayats and village gurdwara committees to keep at least two men deputed for night watch at gurdwaras from time to time. However, after the Mansoorpur incident, security and surveillance of places of worship have been increased. WhatsApp groups of sarpanches and panchayats have been created where they are being instructed to depute two men on night watch at the religious places of worship. The police are also making regular and more stringent checks of CCTVs and placements of cameras at the places of worship.

Deputy Commissioner Jaspreet Singh said: “The order issued today is a routine one as theekri pehras are a continuous practice in the state. The Mansoorpur incident was a standalone incident. However, the order is a routine affair, in continuation of other previous orders regarding theekri pehras, which he issued from time to time. There are 890 village panchayats in Jalandhar. The order will apply on all these panchayats.”

SSP Jalandhar Swarandeep Singh said: “Villages have certainly been asked to be on alert. We will be talking to village sarpanches on the issue and holding meetings with them. Gurdwara managements have also been activated to be wary of any untoward happenings or unscrupulous elements around gurdwaras. We have asked them to not just depute granthis or other personnel on night watch but also ask such persons to be alert at night so no incident skips their attention.”

About theekri pehras

While theekri pehras have been a continuous practice in the the state/region during medical or security emergencies, the rise of sacrilege attempts and associated incidents have caused the security set up as well as the district administration to go in an overdrive to ensure security at religious places. Theekri pehras were also being held during the Covid pandemic but with the numbers subsiding, many villages began to discontinue the practice.

#sacrilege

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