Pilgrims were appalled and eyewitnesses aghast at what they described as a spectacle of violence triggered by ‘insatiable political ambitions’ at central Delhi’s gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib on Thursday afternoon.
“I came here to offer prayers only to see a blood-thirsty mob. This is our temple, a sacred place, the abode of god. It was a pity,” said an eyewitness who identified himself only as ‘Sonu’ to protect his identity.
Close to a hundred men belonging to the Akali Dal Delhi Sarna (ADDS), headed by Paramjit Singh Sarna, and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi), led by Manjit Singh GK, factions clashed at the gurdwara, near Gole Market, around 11am.
Karol Bagh businessman Manjit Singh Rana, 40, claimed he was sucked into the whirlwind of violence without any fault.
“We had gone to pay obeisance at the gurdwara. I was just standing there when one of the men turned towards me and assaulted me with a baton.”
“I was lucky to have escaped with my life. The man who had attacked me was about to pull out his kirpan (dagger) before someone else intervened and pulled me out,” he said.
Eight men — four belonging to each rival political faction — were rushed to RML hospital with injuries mostly inflicted with blunt weapons. Manjit Singh was one of them.
“He was assaulted so severely that the doctors had to administer six stitches on his head and three on his chin. His injuries were inflicted with a dagger (kirpan); they attempted to injure him in his abdomen too but, fortunately, failed. He’s still unconscious,” said Ish Mohan, Singh’s son.