Chandigarh, June 7, 2014: Violent clashes broke out at the highest Sikh temporal seat inside the revered Golden Temple in Amritsar on Friday morning after two groups of sword wielding Sikhs resorted to a free-for-all bloody combat that marred the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Operation Bluestar.
About 8-10 people were left injured at the end of the clash that spread panic and scare inside and outside the temple premises.
Hundreds of devotees who had gathered to observe the ritual ceremony of Operation Bluestar were left running for cover in the melee as members of Sikh radical outfit SAD (Amritsar) and task force of the SGPC clashed.
The flare up occurred after supporters of SAD (Amritsar), led by its president Simranjit Singh Mann, tried to snatch the mike to let Mann deliver a public address from the temple’s rostrum, which was objected to by the SGPC.
This led to frayed tempers and within no time swords were pulled out. Supporters of some radical outfits also raised pro-Khalistan slogans brandishing swords and spears.
Police personnel are not allowed inside the shrine complex which made matters worse. The security inside the Sikh shrine is the responsibility of the SGPC. The standoff turned fierce when the SGPC task force tried to stop Mann from delivering the speech. This infuriated supporters of Mann and what followed was complete bedlam.
Turbans fell in the chaos. Many among the frontline of the clash were older Sikh men who charged at each other ferociously with naked swords trying to push their opponent behind.
The radicals barged into the Akal Takht premises before they were confronted with equal might by the SGPC task force that eventually managed to force them out.
Blood stained the sparkling white Kurta Pajamas of Sikh men as the bloody fight took nearly an hour to settle down. Some traders outside the temple premises downed shutters in panic.
The Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh called the violence a handiwork of “agencies”. He added that the perpetrators behind the violence would be punished.
Law enforcing agencies have been directed to deal firmly with those responsible for the incident. Political parties in Punjab, including the ruling SAD-BJP combine, have condemned the incident.