Punjab: Home guard jawan killed, 4 cops injured after Nihangs open fire at gurdwara

Punjab: Home guard jawan killed, 4 cops injured after Nihangs open fire at gurdwara

         Sultanpur Lodhi (Kapurthala), Nov 23 (PTI) A home guard jawan was killed while four policemen suffered injuries when a group of Nihangs resorted to 'unprovoked' firing at them in Punjab's Kapurthala early Thursday, officials said.

         Five people were arrested in the incident, they said.

According to police, there was a dispute between two factions of Nihangs over the possession of Gurdwara Akal Bunga Sahib here.

The incident took place when policemen tried to get the gurdwara vacated from a faction of Nihangs led by Baba Mann Singh.

         Special Director General of Police Arpit Shukla said there was an 'unprovoked' firing at the policemen after they reached here on Thursday morning.

         Speaking to reporters in Kapurthala, Shukla said a murder case has been registered. “Five people have been arrested and weapons recovered,” said Shukla, adding that further investigation was underway.

While policemen were standing on the road, some Nihangs opened fire at them, Kapurthala Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) Tejbir Singh Hundal told PTI.

The Nihangs fired indiscriminately, said police.

Nihangs are a Sikh sect whose members are usually seen in blue robes and carrying some arms.

Additional Director General of Police G S Dhillon said one home guard jawan, identified as Jaspal Singh, was killed and four other cops were injured in the incident.

Police used tear gas shells to disperse Nihangs who also hurled stones at policemen from the gurdwara premises.

        Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expressed grief over the death of the home guard and announced a compensation of Rs 2 crore for his family.

        The incident occurred just a few days before the birth anniversary of first Sikh Guru Nanak Dev on November 27.

        A group of 15-20 Nihangs owing allegiance to a faction led by Baba Mann Singh on Tuesday took control over the gurdwara and allegedly beat up two Nihangs of the other faction led by Baba Balbir Singh from Baba Budha Dal.

        The group led by Baba Balbir Singh had been managing the gurdwara for the past many years.

        On Wednesday, some Nihangs of the Baba Mann Singh faction allegedly tried to take control over another dera of Baba Budha Dal in Bussowal village.

        Thereafter, an FIR was registered in the matter and 10 Nihangs belonging to the Baba Mann Singh faction were arrested, said police.

        Both the groups also had a clash in 2020 in which one Nihang was killed.

        On Thursday morning, when a team of police went to the gurdwara Akal Bunga Sahib to get the possession vacated from the Baba Mann Singh faction, some Nihangs opened fire at them in which the home guard was killed.

        The bullet hit his head, said police.

        Meanwhile, some Nihangs, while speaking to reporters, alleged that they were first attacked by police at around 4:30 am.          Senior officials, including Additional DGP Dhillon, DIG S Bhoopati, DIG Rajpal Singh and Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Karnail Singh rushed to the spot.

Later, they held talks with the Baba Mann Singh faction.

        After a two-hour long meeting, the deputy commissioner said it has been agreed that the Baba Mann Singh faction will vacate the gurdwara.

        Under section 145 (procedure where dispute concerning land or water is likely to cause breach of peace) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a receiver, who will be a government employee, will be appointed to manage the gurdwara, the deputy commissioner told reporters.

       Both the factions will be heard for proving their claims over the gurdwara property, he said.

        Additional DGP Dhillon said an action in the matter will be taken as per the law.

        Two licensed weapons, which were used in firing, have been recovered by police, said Dhillon, adding that law and order would be maintained.

        Kapurthala Senior Superintendent of Police Vatsala Gupta said a case has been registered under various sections of the IPC in connection with the incident. PTI CORR CHS VSD KVK KVK KVK

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