Two groups clashed inside the Golden Temple premises for close to half an hour this morning leaving at least 12 persons injured, even as the temple city observed a bandh to mark the 30th anniversary of Operation Bluestar.
Brandishing swords, spears and sticks, video footages showed people clashing and chasing each other outside the Akal Takht building inside the complex. Some others were seen running for cover.
The situation took an ugly turn when one of the Akali Dal factions led by former IPS officer Simranjeet Singh Mann along with his supporters tried to raise pro-Khalistani slogans from the rostrum of Akal Takht, Amritsar Police Commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh said.
"Everyone has heard that the Sikh community has just one demand. Khalistan would be a buffer state between, Pakistan, China and India, all three of which are lanced with nuclear power. Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs would feel safe in this Sikh nation and peace would prevail forever in South Asia. Khalistan is in favor of all the nations and religions," said Mann.
"We will make the map of Khalistan very soon, and then, Sikhs would know that it would be the only place in South Asia where there would not be a nuclear war, and all religions and sects would be able to enjoy their life in the Sikh nation," Mann further added.
Mann was prevented from delivering his speech during a ceremony organised to mark the 30th anniversary of Operation Bluestar following which a clash broke out between activists of his group Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and guards of Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), he said, adding that swords were used in the violence which left five members of SGPC task force injured.
Police personnel are not permitted inside the Golden temple premises where security and other issues are under the control of the task force, Aulakh said.
"The situation has been defused and things are under total control," he said.
When contacted Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh said the the incident is being investigated.
"Preliminary reports suggest that some unscrupulous elements were responsible for it," he told PTI.
There was no disruption of worship at the Golden Temple, an official said.
Mann accused the SGPC and the ruling Akali Dal government in Punjab of not addressing the issues faced by the Sikh community and also targeting groups seeking resolution of these problems.
The anniversary of Operation Bluestar was observed at Akal Takht at the marbled periphery of