Punjab approves life term for sacrilege

CHANDIGARH (TIP): The Punjab cabinetannounced it would introduce a new amended section (295 AA) in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to provide life imprisonment to those involved in sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.

Hurting religious sentiments, currently covered under IPC’s Section 295 A, makes sacrilege punishable by three-year imprisonment.

“This step would act as a deterrent to prevent the recurrence of such unfortunate incidents (sacrilege) in future,” deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal said.

“This amendment is all the more necessitated as the existing provisions of the said Act in Section 295, 295A and 296, though deal with these matters, but do not provide deterrent punishment for such unfortunate incidents.”

The move follows over a dozen cases of Guru Granth Sahib desecrations in the past couple of months which triggered violent protests. Two protesters were killed when police fired on protesters in Faridkot last month.

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The BJP welcomed the move, but added the government should seek a similar punishment for disrespect to Hindu idols in temples where prana pratishta (idol consecration) is followed even as one of the party’s ministers attended the cabinet meeting.

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