SGPC task force, Sikh outfits protesting over missing ‘saroops’ clash at Golden Temple, 15 injured
Incident took place when staff tried to evict the protesting activists from outside gurdwara body head office; journalists also attackedUpdated: Oct 25, 2020, 02:28 IST
At least 15 persons were injured when a clash between the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) task force and members of some Sikh organisations protesting over the missing Guru Granth Sahib ‘saroops’ episode turned violent in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar on Saturday.
The incident took place when task force tried to evict the protesters staging an indefinite sit-in in front the SGPC headquarters, Teja Singh Samundri Hall. Many of those leading the protest were held captive inside the SGPC office and thrashed by the task force personnel.
The Sikh outfits, including the Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee, have been protesting since September 14 seeking justice in the missing saroops episode for which SGPC staffers were held guilty by a probe committee.
How it unfolded
It started early morning when Sukhjit Singh Khose, one of the protest leaders, locked the gate of the Teja Singh Samundri Hall after he claimed to have been humiliated by the SGPC employees. He along with his aides sat on the side gate blocking the entry to the head office for hours. When SGPC additional secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhoora along with other staff objected to it, the two had a verbal spat, said the eyewitnesses.
Around 1pm, the SGPC staff forcibly took Khose inside and thrashed him badly. Thereafter, the SGPC personnel carrying sticks and kirpans tried to evict the protesters numbering 10 to 15, leading to a scuffle in which Sarbjit Singh, a gurdwara body employee, sustained deep injuries near his chest. He was hospitalised and was being operated upon by doctors. SGPC additional secretary Bijay Singh also got injured.
Then the SGPC staff forcibly the protest leaders Balbir Singh Muchhal, Dilbag Singh, Manjit Singh Chabhal, Bibi Manjinder Kaur and Paramjit Singh Akali to a room and beat them up badly. They were held captive for four hours. To protest the move, their supporters gathered at the gate and started raising slogans.
Police turn up after hours
A police team turned up at the spot hours after the clash.
Also, the SGPC employees attacked the journalists present at the spot to stop them from covering the incident. A reporter of a vernacular newspaper was slapped and his smartphone was snatched. They forcibly took a TV cameraman inside the office and kept him captive for several hours. He was released after the journalists staged a dharna outside the head office and lodged a police complaint.
The SGPC officials claimed it was the protesters who attacked their employees first.
“The activists were violating the maryada of the Golden Temple. They crossed their limits when they blocked the entrance to the SGPC head office and used objectionable words against our employees,” said gurdwara body general secretary Harjinder Singh Dhami. The SGPC staff thrashed and injured another group of Sikh activists who came in support of the protesters.
Later, the car of SGPC additional secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhoora, who was seen directing the SGPC task force at the time of the clash, was attacked by unidentified persons with sharp-edged weapons when he was returning him. His driver was injured even as Bhoore had a narrow escape.