6 June-2014, Telegraph.co.uk: A sword fight erupted on Friday at Amritsar’s Golden Temple between two Sikh groups as tensions ran high on the 30th anniversary of a notorious army raid at the holy site.
Groups believed to be tied to rival political factions faced off in violent confrontation, hacking at one another in chaotic scenes which left at least 10 injured.
Violent sword fight breaks out at revered Golden Temple in India
The two groups, sporting colourful blue and saffron turbans, chased each other with swords down the marbled staircase of the revered shrine in Punjab state.
The clashes broke out after the leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) was unusually prevented from speaking to crowds gathered for the anniversary, which is an annual event at the holy site.
Shiromani Akali Dal is a political party whose leader, Simranjit Singh Mann, has campaigned for the creation of Khalistan, or a separate Sikh country, for several decades.
The party’s chief spokesman, Iqbal Singh Tiwana, claimed its leader had been prevented from speaking by the group responsible for the temple’s upkeep, which he said is tied to a rival Sikh party, the Shiromani Akali Dal.
He said: “Twelve of our party workers have been arrested and four have been injured in the attack.
“We believe that the long-lasting solution of Sikhs lies in the formation of Khalistan and we will continue to fight peacefully for the our rights.”
Hundreds of Sikhs had gathered at the shrine to pay their respects to those killed in Operation Blue Star, the June 6 1984 raid of the temple by Indian troops aimed at flushing out armed separatists demanding an independent Sikh homeland.
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984 over the army’s storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar to crush a Sikh militant movement. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in retaliatory riots against the Sikhs.
“Today we were supposed to have a solemn remembrance for the martyrs of 1984 so what has happened is very sad,” said a different spokesman for Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).
“The Temple has once again been dishonoured today,” the spokesman Prem Singh Chandumajra told reporters.