Three people were killed and six grievously injured after a clash broke out between two factions of Shiromani Panth Akali Baba Budha Dal, a religious outfit of Nihang Sikhs, over possession of a gurdwara at Mallan village in Gidderbaha of Muktsar district in Punjab on Wednesday.
Villagers said that tension erupted on Tuesday night when the faction led by Naib Singh arrived at the gurdwara. Naib Singh showed a letter, reportedly written by Budha Dal chief Balbir Singh, and asked gurdwara chief Makhan Singh to leave the gaddi.
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The villagers added that the Makhan Singh group also made announcements from the gurdwara seeking help and saying that “some outsiders are trying to capture the gurdwara”.
Makhan Singh left with his supporters on Tuesday night and returned with more supporters the following morning.
In the ensuing clash, both groups fired more than 50 rounds at each other, the locals said.
Harvinder Singh (28), his grandfather Naib Singh (65) and Amritpal Singh (35) died. Six others, identified as Harpreet Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Harpreet Singh Ropar, Sonu, Nirmal Singh and Jagsir Singh, have been admitted to Muktsar civil hospital. Two vehicles, including a Xylo and a pick-up van, were torched.
Sources said the Budha Dal organisation of Nihang Sikhs, led by Baba Balbir Singh, has two factions — one led by supporters of Balbir Singh and the other by Baba Joginder Singh Raqba.
Gurpreet Singh Gill, SSP Muktsar, said, “FIR for murder, attempt to murder and Arms Act has been registered against Makhan Singh and 15-18 of his accomplices at Kot Bhai police station.”
No one has been arrested yet.