The religious head of a gurdwara, along with three others, was injured after a clash broke out over the appointment of his deputy in Patna on Tuesday.
The altercation started around 9am over inducting a granthi, second in rank in a gurdwara's religious operations, into Patna Sahib during the 347th birth anniversary celebrations of the 10th Sikh guru, Gobind Singh.
Those injured include Gyani Iqbal Singh, the chief (jathedar) of Patna Sahib gurdwara, and his son, Guru Prakash Singh.
The announcement of Pratap Singh, the head granthi of Nader Sahib in Punjab, being appointed at Patna Sahib triggered the clash.
A group, allegedly from Punjab, got upset with protests erupting over the announcement and ran amok on the gurdwara premises.
“We protested after the announcement, and some people attacked us,” said Guru Dayal Singh, who was injured in the clash.
“An FIR has been lodged against Kashmira Singh, a resident of Punjab, and six others. The matter is being investigated,” Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj said.
Iqbal Singh, 55, said he was shocked to know that the management committee had nominated an additional granthi without taking his consent.
“Around 150 people attacked us with swords and lathis. I fell down and received injuries on head and hands. My son was also attacked in his bid to protect me,” he said, adding the injured were taken to Guru Gobind Singh Hospital.
Gurdwara general secretary Charanjeet Singh said, “I have not removed jathedar Iqbal Singh. We need an additional granthi for the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Guru Gobind Singhji Maharaj in 2017.”
He added the injured might have tripped on to the stage and hurt themselves in the process.
Sikh devotees, however, were disappointed. “Thousands had gathered at Patna Sahib. It (the clash) will send a bad message as the proceedings were telecast live on TV,” Manindar Singh, a devotee from Singapore, said.
Sikh community members from across the country are in the Bihar capital to take part in Guru Gobind Singh's birth anniversary celebrations. He was born on January 7, 1666, in Patna.