In a “botched” operation, a Punjab home guard was killed and 14 policemen were injured when 100-odd unarmed security personnel were fired upon by Nihangs during an attempt to evict them from Gurdwara Akal Bunga on Thursday.
Dispute over control of shrine
The incident occurred at Gurdwara Akal Bunga, which was under the control of Baba Budha Dal for the past two years. On November 21, Nihang Maan Singh, who heads Shiromani Panth Akali Budha Dal, took over its control forcibly.
The Nihangs from the Maan Singh jatha had on Tuesday forcibly taken possession of the gurdwara after holding two rival members of the community captive.
As the Nihangs resorted to “unprovoked” firing around 4.30 am, a bullet, allegedly fired by Aman Singh, hit home guard Jaspal Singh, a constable, on his head. Of the six policemen admitted to the Civil Hospital, two with bullet injuries were referred to a private facility in Jalandhar. Others were discharged after first aid. The police team, including SP Tejbir Singh Hundal, called reinforcement as the Nihangs continued to fire at them indiscriminately. The police used teargas shells and started retaliatory fire from rooftops of surrounding buildings.
Soon all senior officers, including DIG (Jalandhar Range) S Bhoopathi and DIG (PAP-II) Rajpal Sandhu, also reached the spot and took control of the things.
Kapurthala DC Capt Karnail Singh and ADGP Gurinder Dhillon also came to the spot for talks with the Nihangs as they were not ready to vacate the premises.
Special DGP (Law and Order) Arpit Shukla announced that five Nihangs had been arrested. Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann expressed grief over the death and announced Rs 1 crore as ex gratia relief and another Rs 1 crore as insurance money to the family.