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Rioting leaves six injured at India's holiest Sikh temple

Violence erupts over political speech at Golden Temple, Amritsar

Rioting leaves six injured at India's holiest Sikh temple

Rioting started after the temple management tried to block a political speech (AFP Photo/Narinder Nanu)

Six people were injured and 21 arrested following violent clashes on Friday between rival political groups at India’s most revered Sikh shrine, Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Rioting broke inside the revered temple complex after the body that manages the Golden Temple tried to resist an attempted political speech by Simranjit Singh Mann, leader of leading Punjabi party Shiromani Akali Dal.

The two groups attacked each other with spears, swords and daggers after Mann’s supporters took a microphone from a speaker, angering the temple managing body, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, said Amritsar Police Commissioner Jainder Singh Aulakh.

“The two groups are rivals. They cannot see eye to eye – so this small incident of not letting one speak led to this violence,” he said.

The rioting took place at the temple as crowds gathered to observe the 30th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, an Indian military operation against a separatist group that dozens of soldiers and hundreds of civilians dead after the army flushed the armed group out of the temple.

Four months after the operation, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own two Sikh bodyguards, in what is viewed as an act of vengeance.

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