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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Amristar: SGPC task force removes protesters blocking its HQ gate, several injured

Some Sikh bodies have been sitting on a dharna outside SGPC headquarters since September 14 to demand action against those officials found guilty in probe ordered by Akal Takht in case of missing Birs of Guru Granth Sahib.

By: Express News Service | Amritsar | October 25, 2020 10:31:32 am
CAPTION-The SIkh activists standing outside the gate of Teja Singh Samundri Hall, headquarter of the SGPC, to demand release of the morcha activists made captive by the SGPC in Amritsar on Saturday, October 24 2020.  EXPRESS PHOTO BY RANA SIMRANJIT SINGH

The SGPC’s attempt to remove protesters blocking entry to its headquarters in Amrtisar led to clash between both sides leaving more than dozen injured Saturday.

Some Sikh bodies have been sitting on a dharna outside SGPC headquarters since September 14 to demand action against those officials found guilty in probe ordered by Akal Takht in case of missing Birs of Guru Granth Sahib.

SGPC task force also allegedly thrashed a journalist covering the clash after he was mistaken to be a protester. In the evening, the Sikh body apologised for this.

Things turned ugly on Saturday morning when one protester, Sukhjit Singh Khosa, alleged that a member of the SGPC task force had attempted to remove his turban when he was performing volunteer service inside the Golden Temple.

Khosa and other protesters blocked the entry gate of SGPC headquarters in reaction to alleged misbehaviour with Khosa.

SGPC task force members then gathered in large numbers in the afternoon and attempted to forcibly remove some of the protesters by taking then inside its headquarters. It led to clash between both sides. However, task force managed to overpower protesters, who were few in numbers. At least eight protesters were taken inside by SGPC task force and remained in their “custody” for four to five hours.

As the drama unfolded, police too reached the spot and helped negotiate between the two sides. However, no case has so far been filed over the incident.

A journalist, covering the event, was also forcibly taken inside headquarters by the task force. Later, journalists staged a dharna outside SGPC headquarters over the alleged kidnapping and thrashing of journalists.

“We have been protesting peacefully for 41 days. Today, SGPC task force attacked us with swords and kidnapped people. We were taken inside and thrashed. SGPC task force has turned into a body of goons. They have been acting on the orders of SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal. At least, 20 protesters have received injuries out of which five have received fractures,” said Sukhjit Singh Khosa, after being freed from alleged SGPC captivity in evening.

SGPC also used its women employees to overpower the women protesters.

The Sikh body, however, claimed that protesters had attacked the task force first with swords.

“Our main gate was blocked by protesters. Our officials were not able to come outside. When we asked protesters to open the gate, they attacked us with swords. Our two employees are seriously injured and admitted at hospital. We apologise as some journalists were mistaken to be protesters in the heat of moment,” said the SGPC spokesman.

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