A mob of sword-wielding Sikh men on Monday attacked policemen, injuring at least four of them, at a Gurudwara in Maharashtra’s Nanded district, after the said group was denied permission for a religious procession on the day of Hola Mohalla amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Waheguru Save my India 😔 Save my Maharashtra from these rioters.. People used to feel safe with Sikhs.. First Red Fort Now Nanded … These people will destroy Sikhism.. No one in India should be allowed to wave swords..Feeling ashamed pic.twitter.com/xaRQqcsxaF
— Sardar Lucky Singh 🇮🇳 (@iFearlessSingh) March 29, 2021
“Permission for Hola Mohalla wasn’t granted due to COVID-19. Reportedly, the Gurudwara committee was informed, and they said that they would do it inside the Gurudwara premises itself. But around 4 PM, when Nishan Sahib was brought to the gate, they started arguing, and 300-400 youth broke the gate and marched outside. Police personnel suffered injuries, and vehicles got damaged.” said, Superintendent of Police, Nanded.
Committee had said they'll do it inside Gurudwara premises itself. But around 4 pm when Nishan Sahib was brought to gate, they started arguing & 300-400 youth broke the gate & marched outside. 4 Police personnel injured, vehicles damaged. FIR registered, probe is on: SP Nanded pic.twitter.com/jq7O2LvGB3
— ANI (@ANI) March 29, 2021
Nanded Range DIG Nisar Tamboli said in a statement that one of the injured constables was in serious condition. After the incident, police registered an FIR against at least 200 people under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntary causing hurt with dangerous weapons), 188 (Disobeying the order of public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and for rioting.
According to an Indian Express report, the police had already arrested 17 people who were part of the violent mob with further arrests expected to be made as the investigation proceeds.
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. Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla around the time of Holi every year and display their martial arts skills during the festival.
However, after the violence unleashed by the sword-wielding mob came into the public light and the horrifying video went viral on social media platforms — questions were raised by the netizens as to why the Sikhs were allowed to carry swords and other such dangerous weapons in public.
The fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution give an individual the right to practice their religion and faith, and it is perfectly understandable that Khalsa Sikhs are compulsorily mandated to carry a ‘Kirpan’ with them. However, the state also must protect its citizens from harm’s way as well. These sword and Kirpan brandishing individuals should not be tolerated and in recent times, such elements have started coming out in the news stories rather routinely.
The recent Red Fort riots saw several turban-wearing Sikhs carrying swords and other sharp weapons and trying to inflict damage to security officials who came in their way.
— Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) January 27, 2021
Who can forget the 2019 Mukherjee Nagar incident where a Sikh man named Sarabjeet, a tempo driver, was seen brandishing his oversized Kirpan and threatening the police officer, who was trying to calmly engage with the civilian.
अब जरा इस विडियो के आगे का हिस्सा देखिये। पुलिसवालों ने जब टेम्पो चालक को पकड़ा तो उसका नाबालिग बेटा टेम्पो के पास गया और टेम्पो चलाकर पुलिसकर्मियों को टक्कर मारी। जिसके बाद पुलिसवालों ने टेम्पो चालक के बेटे को पीटा। pic.twitter.com/QqSpRPwm42
— Jitender Sharma (@capt_ivane) June 17, 2019
Reported by TFI, Sarabjeet’s violent instincts were clearly visible in this incident as he was shouting in the video, “Haath laga ke dikhao”, while brandishing his sword. Before this, he had shouted, “Aaj dekhoge Sardar kya hota hai”, at the officer. Eight policemen were injured in Sarabjit’s onslaught.
The centre and states need to take a stringent call on the permission granted to Sikhs to carry dangerous holstered weapons which can prove dangerously fatal for the commoners. A middle ground needs to be chalked out so that such incidents can well and truly be avoided.