Shocking violence at Golden Temple on Operation Bluestar's anniversary,
Chants of the Akhand Path held in the Golden Temple today turned into violent howls, when members of the SGPC task force clashed with Sikh radical groups on the steps of the holy Akal Takht.
The clashes occurred when Simranjeet Singh Mann, head of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann group), forcefully tried to take the mic from the Jathedar to give a speech from the rostrum of the Akhal Takht.
The mic-grabbing act subsequently led to violent clashes between the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee and radicals, where swords were flung and kirpans hurled bang in the middle of the holiest Sikh shrine in India.
At least seven people were injured and a journalist was beaten up in the skirmish where armed protesters asked journalists to leave the temple premises.
Many radicals wore t-shirts with Bhindranwale's photo and shouted slogans of "Khalistan Zindbad". Others were seen wearing clothes inscribed with the words "We will not forget 1984".
This correspondent reported that the radicals even undertook a parikrama of the Golden Temple. The armed crowd also went to the market outside, to force shops to down their shutters, and made devotees flee the temple.
Plain clothed policemen, however, saved the situation from the getting violent.
Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Police, Amritsar (Special Branch), H.S. Brar, was mongst the policemen present at the holy shrine.
He said, "Forty to fifty policemen were present there when the clashes broke out. Five members of the SGPC Development Task Force were injured. We have rounded up seven people for investigation and will take the statements of the injured too."
Meanwhile, the shocking act of violence has invited condemnation from various quarters with MP Bhagwant Mann denouncing it strongly.
He said, "It was an unfortunate incident, this is what happens when we mix religion and politics."
(Posted on 06-06-2014)