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Sultanpur Lodhi gurdwara clash: Tension simmered for two days, admn, cops failed to resolve issue

The administration and the police have failed to resolve the simmering tension at Gurdwara Akal Bunga Sahib for two days between the two groups of ‘nihangs’, which claimed the life of a Punjab Home Guard during a clash early this morning.

Cops deployed outside the shrine in Sultanpur Lodhi on Thursday. Malkiat Singh

The Kapurthala police have also come under the scanner for undertaking the operation just four days ahead of Guru Nanak Parkash Purb on November 27.

Gurdwara Akal Bunga is situated opposite the historical Gurdwara Ber Sahib, where devotees have already started reaching in a large number for Gurpurb. When the firing was on this morning, a prabhat pheri was reportedly passing through the street close to the site. Devotees reportedly dispersed on hearing the sound of gunshots.

Police job for Deceased’s son

  • The last rites of Home Guard Jaspal Singh were held at Maniala village with full state honours
  • Special DGP Arpit Shukla announced a police job for one son of the deceased and “a gainful employment for the other son”

Scribes hurt

  • During the incident, two mediapersons got injured as the cops reportedly hit them with canes

Rs 2 crore relief for Home Guard’s kin

  • Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday expressed grief over the death of Home Guard Jaspal Singh
  • He announced Rs 2 crore as financial assistance to his family. In a condolence message, the CM said Jaspal Singh died while performing his duty in Sultanpur Lodhi
  • He said out of Rs 2 crore, Rs 1 crore would be given as ex gratia by the state government and payment of insurance worth Rs 1 crore would be made by HDFC Bank

A jatha of the Baba Budha Dal, led by Nihang Balbir Singh, had been on a collision course with Nihang Maan Singh, who heads the Shiromani Panth Akali Budha Dal, since Tuesday over the control of the gurdwara. Since the police lodged an FIR against the group led by Nihang Maan Singh and his 15-20 men yesterday, they were well-prepared for police action and hence confronted and clashed with the police.

Knowing it well that the jatha of Nihang Maan Singh and his team of 40 members, mostly young boys, were armed, policemen went inside the premises without weapons. The nihangs quickly took position on trees, roofs of the under-construction langar hall.

The Special DGP, Law and Order, Arpit Shukla, said, “Extra restraint was taken by our teams as there had been specific instructions of not carrying any weapon inside a religious place.” He defended the police teams saying, “There seemed to be no lapse from the police side. Still, we will inquire into it.” Two rifles and a pistol were seized from them.

The DC, Kapurthala, said, “We will ensure that the Gurpurb celebrations do not get affected due to the incident. Imposing Section 145 of the CrPC, the administration has taken possession of the gurdwara till the dispute between two nihang groups gets resolved. On records, the land belongs to the Waqf Board. We could not act earlier as we got the police records today.”

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