Rival Akalis clash in Rakab Ganj

11 injured as tempers run high prior to Sikh management panel polls

At least 11 people were injured as swords and lathis were used freely in a clash between members and supporters of two political parties inside the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib near Parliament House on Thursday.

The incident took place ahead of an executive board meeting of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) at Guru Gobind Singh Bhavan around 11 am to chalk out plans for the elections scheduled next month.

According to police, members and supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal-Delhi (SADD) and Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal (SADB) attacked each other with swords, kirpans, lathis and stones. Both the groups allege that gun shots were fired inside the premises of the gurdwara, but police denied it. “There was no evidence of firing. It could not be verified. It appears to be a case of rumour mongering,” said Rajan Bhagat, police spokesperson.

It is alleged that a heated argument began after SADB president Manjit Singh G K came to attend the meeting with elected members of DSGMC – Amarjit Singh Pappu and Satnam Singh Aulakh– and about 15-20 of his supporters at 10:30 am. However, DSGMC and SADD president Paramjit Singh Sarna disapproved the presence of Manjit’s supporters and asked them to leave the venue.

Manjit claims that he, Amarjit and Satnam were special invitees to the meeting and also produced a letter sent to him by DSGMC general secretary Gurmit Singh Shunty. Paramjit, however, claims that the letter was sent without his permission and was, therefore, invalid.

“We reached DSGMC’s office at 10.30 am, but were not allowed to enter by Paramjit and his armed guards,” Manjit said in his statement to police. “When I asked Paramjit why I was denied entry in spite of having a letter of invitation, Paramjit told his armed guards to chop my head without reason,” he added. Manjit also alleged that Paramjit hit him with his kirpan, causing head injuries and making him fall down on the ground. “Paramjit’s armed guards also attacked Amarjit,” Manjit said.

Immediately, more members and supporters of SADB reached the spot and clashed with SADD group and armed DSGMC task-force. Paramjit claimed that SADB members and supporters turned violent, after which SADD supporters and DSGMC task-force acted to bring the situation under control. Flower pots and window panes were broken in the violence. Several police teams rushed to the gurdwara after receiving a call to the police control room. “Of the 11 injured, six  belong to SADB and five to SADD group,” a senior police official said.

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