(Eds: Adds details) Nanded, Mar 29 (PTI) A mob of sword-wielding Sikhs on Monday attacked policemen, injuring at least four of them, after being denied permission to hold a public procession in Nanded due to the coronavirus pandemic, an official said.
A viral video showed the sword-wielding mob barging out of the gurdwara, break the barricades put up by police and attack the policemen.
Several vehicles were also damaged in the violence.
'Permission for the Hola Mohalla public procession was not granted due to the pandemic. The gurdwara committee was informed and they had assured us that they would abide by our directives and hold the event inside the gurdwara premises,' Nanded Range DIG Nisar Tamboli told PTI.
'However, when the Nishan Sahib was brought to the gate around 4 pm, several participants started arguing and over 300 youth stormed out of the gate, broke the barricades and began attacking the policeman,' he said.
Nishan Sahib is a triangular saffron-coloured flag furling outside a gurdwara on a steel pole covered with a saffron-coloured cloth. The flag also has an insignia called Khanda in the middle, which includes two swords and a chakra.
Hola Mohalla (Hola) is a Sikh festival that comes a day after Holi. Unlike Holi, when people sprinkle coloured powder on each other, Hola Mohalla is an occasion for Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills.
Nanded is an important Sikh pilgrimage centre as it is home to a sacred shrine, the Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchal Nagar Sahib. It was here that the 10th and last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), anointed the holy book Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhism and spent the last 14 months of his life. PTI VT VT VT