NEW DELHI: A clash between two factions at a Delhi gurdwara Thursday morning left 11 people injured, including two seriously, police said.
A meeting held at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in central Delhi to discuss a proposed amendment bill ahead of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee elections turned violent, with rival factions attacking each other with kirpans, leaving 11 injured.
A heated argument between supporters of the Shiromani Akali Dal Badal (Delhi) group and the Akali Dal Delhi Sarna (ADDS) group turned violent, with both factions drawing kirpans.
Police denied reports that guns were used.
"The two factions used kirpans and small stones to attack each other," a police officer said.
Manjit Singh G.K., Shiromani Akali Dal Badal (SADB) president (Delhi) and All-India general secretary, and Chaman Singh were identified as those who received critical injuries.
"Of the 11 injured, six people belong to SADB group, while five belong to ADDS group.
The SADB group was rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital while ADDS group was sent to Safdarjung Hospital.
"It was a trap. As soon as I entered the premises of gurdwara, members of the AADS group attacked me. They wanted to kill me, and they had hired bouncers for the job," said Manjit Singh.
A police officer said Manjit Singh, along with 15 to 20 members of his group, entered the premises of the Rakab Ganj Gurdwara around 11 a.m. Thursday to attend an executive body meeting organised by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
"As Manjit is the only member of the executive body of his group, he was told by the ADDS group to enter the meeting alone. But he wanted to enter with his five members," said the officer.
"The issue led to a heated argument and Manjit's group started breaking flower pots and pelting stones. Manjit's other group members also joined the scuffle. In the meantime, the ADDS group also attacked Manjit and his group with swords and sticks," the officer said.
The situation was brought under control as soon as police came to know of the bloody clash between the two groups, he said.
"Reinforcements of police personnel have been deputed at the spot to control the situation," a senior police official said, adding: "The situation is under control."
Police is planning to register cases against both groups for creating panic and a riot-like situation in the area, said the officer.
It may be recalled that the Badal group is opposing the proposed amendment in Delhi Gurdwara Act 1971 claiming it direct interference of Congress in the religious matters of Sikhs.
Meanwhile, the Sarna group known for its unrelenting support to Shiela Dixit and Congress has hailed the amendment saying it will end the envelope culture in the election of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president, making the president more answerable and responsible to the Sikh Sangat.
Lashing out at Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who had termed the amendment as political interference by Congress, Sarna had questioned him why he being a CM was interfering in the matters of the Sikh community.
Recently, members of SAD (B) had even protested outside the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and SAD (B) president and Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal during their Delhi visit had appealed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde against the amendment.
The main reason seen behind Badals’ opposition to the Delhi Gurdwara Act is the effect it will have on Punjab where the SGPC is controlled by none other than Badals.