- Footage showed dozens of Sikhs fighting with swords at the Golden Temple, in Amritsar, Sikhism’s holiest temple
- At least six people injured as Sikh radicals clashed with the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC)
- They gathered to remember victims of military offensive Operation Blue Star that left hundreds dead on June 6, 1984
- It is understood the fighting broke out over who would speak first at the ceremony
A violent sword battle broke out at Sikhism’s holiest temple today during a special prayer ceremony to mark the government massacre that took place there 30 years ago. At least six people were injured as dozens of Sikh radicals clashed with supporters of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) at the revered Golden Temple, in Amritsar, Punjab State.
It is understood the scuffle erupted over who would speak first at the service, held to remember victims of military offensive Operation Blue Star that left hundreds dead on June 6, 1984, when soldiers stormed the compound in a bid to flush out separatist insurgents holed up in the temple. Footage appeared to show the two groups of men, sporting blue and saffron turbans, chasing each other down the temple’s marble steps, yelling battle cries and lashing out with their swords as the violence grew out of control, soon spilling inside the temple’s walls.
Today we were supposed to have a solemn remembrance for the martyrs of 1984, so what has happened is very sad,’ Prem Singh Chandumajra, a spokesman for Punjab state’s ruling party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), told reporters. ‘The Temple has once again been dishonoured today,’ he added. Peace has since been restored, said an official, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
‘The violent clashes will be investigated and action will be taken against those who are accused,’ said Giani Gurbachan Singh, a leader of the SGPC, the elected body that manages Sikh temples. Operation Blue Star was one of the most contentious episodes in India’s battle against Sikh separatists in the 1980s.