A group of people, allegedly Nihangs, attacked cops in the Patiala district of Punjab today. They chopped off a hand of an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) and injured two other police officials.
The group comprised four or five Nihangs (Sikhs armed with traditional weapons and dressed in loose blue top) who were travelling in a vehicle. The Mandi board officials asked them to stop at a vegetable market at around 6:15 AM. “They were asked to show (curfew) passes. But they banged the vehicle against the gate and barricades put up there,” Mandeep Singh Sidhu, senior superintendent of police, Patiala, said.
The group then attacked the police personnel on duty. “An ASI’s hand was chopped off by a sword. A station house officer of Sadar Patiala and another official suffered injuries on arms in the attack,” Sidhu said.
The ASI, identified as Harjeet Singh, was rushed to the Rajindra hospital, where from he was referred to PGIMER in Chandigarh.
The Nihangs fled the scene after the attack, the SSP said. Police said they later took shelter at a gurdwara managed by them in Balbera village of the district.
Subsequently, 20 Nihangs were detained for questioning.
Nine Nihangs were arrested later in connection with the crime from a gurdwara in the Balbera village of Punjab. Rs 35 lakh cash was recovered from them.
The Nihangs had in their possession three pistols, two rifles, 18 swords, four javelins, 11 knives, 31 plastic bottles of petrol, two petrol bombs, eight LPG cylinders and five iron rods, police said.
Sidhu-led teams of police have been deputed to take the Nihangs out of the premises. The movement of the people around the gurdwara has been stopped.
Punjab Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta described this incident as unfortunate. He said the Nihangs would be arrested soon. “In an unfortunate incident today morning, a group of Nihangs injured a few Police officers and a Mandi Board official at Sabzi Mandi, Patiala. ASI Harjeet Singh whose hand got cut-off has reached PGI Chandigarh,” Gupta tweeted.
“I have spoken to Director PGI who has deputed top Plastic surgeons of PGI for surgery, which just started. The Nihangs will be arrested and further action (will be) taken soon,” Gupta said.
In another tweet, Gupta said, “Grateful to PGI for full support. Director PGI tells me that surgery has already started by 2 senior surgeons who will do their best. All of us praying to Waheguru for his full recovery!”
The incident took place amid the lockdown in the state meant to check the spread of coronavirus.