A controversy over the issue of construction of a wall around the ancient Sitasar Mandir in Sunam took an ugly turn on Monday evening after the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse protesting members of the temple committee.
The police also fired teargas shells to control the situation.
The members of the committee were holding a protest in front of the deputy commissioner's office against the lackadaisical approach of the police in resolving the issue. At around 7.30 pm, the administration and police officers assured the protesters that their issue would be resolved within 24 hours and asked them to lift the protest.
Following the assurance, the temple committee members, joined by others, started moving towards the temple to construct the wall on their own.
The police intercepted them near Shiv Niketan Chowk and stopped them from going ahead.
Instead of heeding the warnings of the police, the protesters indulged in heated arguments with them, after which the cops resorted to a mild cane charge to control the situation. Ten persons were injured.
The injured protesters were admitted to civil hospital with minor injuries.
The committee had built a wall around the temple a few days ago, but it had collapsed due to heavy rain. The committee tried to rebuild the wall, but the resistance put up by a rival group to its construction led to a dispute. The rival group claimed that the boundary wall was illegal because part of the land belonged to a gurdwara. The police had stalled the construction work four days ago in view of the sensitivity of the situation.
A heavy police force was deployed at the spot since Monday morning to avoid any untoward incident.
Deputy commissioner Kumar Rahul and SSP Harcharan Singh Bhullar also visited the spot to take stock of the situation.