Riots at India's Golden Temple on raid anniversary
June 7, 2014, 12:06 am TWN
AMRITSAR, India -- Clashes broke out between sword-wielding Sikhs on Friday at the Golden Temple in northern India on the 30th anniversary of a notorious army raid in which hundreds of people were killed.
At least 10 people were wounded in the violence at the temple in the city of Amritsar, which is the holiest shrine in the Sikh religion.
Hundreds of Sikhs had gathered at the shrine to pay their respects to those killed in the June 6, 1984 raid of the temple by Indian troops aimed at flushing out armed separatists demanding an independent Sikh homeland.
"Today we were supposed to have a solemn remembrance for the martyrs of 1984 so what has happened is very sad," said a spokesman for a radical Sikh outfit called the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) whose supporters were involved in the clashes.
"The Temple has once again been dishonored today," the spokesman Prem Singh Chandumajra told reporters.
Television footage showed two groups of Sikhs sporting blue and saffron turbans chasing each other with swords on the marbled staircase of the revered shrine in Punjab state.
The clashes allegedly broke out after members of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) insisted they be allowed to speak on the microphone first.
"Members of a radical outfit confronted the temple's task force, triggering the fight. Some 10 people have been injured, two of them are being treated in hospital," a police officer in charge of temple safety told AFP.