The supporters of Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management (adhoc) Committee (HSGMC) on Wednesday clashed with the state police force when they allegedly attempted to take over the Chhathi Paatshahi gurdwara in Kurukshetra district of Haryana.
The clash took place when hundreds of HSGMC supporters tried to cross the barricades put up by police to bar them from entering the sikh shrine. The clash left many protestors, police personnel and mediapersons injured as stones were being pelted by two factions of mob present at the spot. In order to control the situation, police used water cannons and even fired tear gas to disperse the agitated mob. Vehicles parked at a distance from the Gurdwara, in Theme Park’s parking, were also damaged by the agitated mob and police.
The injured were rushed to Kurukshetra civil hospital where they are being treated.
According to police, the situation was tense but under control as of now. The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) Amritsar’s task force members who are armed with weapons and camping inside the sikh shrine have been asked by the police to leave the spot to avoid any further tension. However, the task force members have yet not accepted the police advisory and are staying put in the gurdwara.
Meanwhile, HSGMC leaders claimed that a large number of people who had come from Punjab started pelting stones that led to the clash. “A group of around 300-400 people from Punjab under the banner of Sadbhavna Jattha reached the spot where we had been peacefully protesting for all these days. They started pelting stones at us and then the clash took place. In the melee, people from both the sides got injured and the mob did not even spare police and media. We are not to be blamed for this clash. We condemn the police’s act that has left many people injured and private vehicles damaged”, Didar Singh Nalvi, HSGMC vice president told Express.
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HSGMC’s general secretary Joga Singh said, “We tried our level best to find an amicable solution. People who created ruckus came from Punjab and started pelting stones at us. Then our men also retaliated and a clash took place. We did not break any law. We were attacked by people who were sent by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and we only reacted in order to save ourselves. We had never tried to indulge in violence and had been peacefully demanding our legal rights. Haryana Chief Minister has also asked to stay calm and continue our protest without indulging in violence”.
HSGMC was scheduled to hold a meeting in Kurukshetra on Wednesday to decide further course of action after its representatives met SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar two days ago in Jagadhari. While Makkar had claimed that he has been authorised to nominate five member-committee to resolve the ongoing dispute between the two sikh bodies, HSGMC yesterday refuted Makkar’s claims and reiterated their demand of taking over the sikh shrines across Haryana. A large number of sikhs were called in Kurukshetra by the HSGMC to decide further course of action.
“It is not yet certain that to which group protestors belong. A group of people started pelting stones at the police and members of HSGMC tried to scale the barricades. Police had to resort to cane charge and firing tear gas to disperse the agitated mob”, said Rajbir Deswal, Inspector General of Police, Karnal range.