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Sikh temple shooting trial starts in Austria

world Updated: Jul 13, 2010 00:02 IST

AP
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Six men went on trial today in connection with last year's bloody shooting at a temple in the Austrian capital. A Sikh sect leader was killed and more than a dozen others were wounded, including a second Sikh cleric, during the incident May 24 in which worshippers uses a frying pan and microphone stands to fend off assailants wielding knives and a handgun. The rampage triggered riots in several cities in northern India. The main suspect is charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder. The other five are accused of accessory to murder and attempted intentional aggravated assault. None have been officially identified but the Vienna public prosecutor's office said five are Indian citizens and that the nationality of a sixth suspect is unknown. The 35-year-old main suspect told Judge Susanne Lehr that he had no recollection of the shooting due to an injury he sustained during the brutal brawl. The Austria Press Agency quoted him as disputing that he knew the five others standing trial or the temple where the attack happened.

The prosecution argued that the suspects are fundamentalist Sikhs who accused the preachers, both of whom were visiting from India, of being disrespectful of a "Holy Book," APA said. Verdicts are not expected before the end of September. If convicted, the suspects face up to life in prison.