A violent mob of sword-carrying Sikh protesters broke through barricades at a Gurdwara in Maharashtra's Nanded on March 29 evening and attacked cops, leaving four injured. The violence occured after the police refused to permit a religious procession amid rising COVID-19 cases in the state.
Police have registered a case over the violence and the violation of COVID protocols, reported NDTV.
In a video that surfaced online, a mob armed with swords is seen storming out of a gate of the Gurdwara, breaking through barricades set up by the cops and attacking policemen. According to a police officer, four personnel were injured and police cars were also vandalised.
Superintendent of Police Pramod Kumar Shewale said that the gurdwara had been informed that the "Hola Mohalla" procession would not be permitted because of the coronavirus restrictions in place.
"We had spoken to the gurdwara authorities and the priests and explained the situation to them. So they agreed that this year, no procession will be held and a low-key celebration will be held within the complex," Shewale said.
"The event was to begin at 4 pm. But some of the youngsters got impatient. When Babaji explained the situation to them, they moved to Gate number 1 and started moving on the traditional route of the procession," the senior cop added.
The "Hola Mohalla" procession includes a display of Sikh martial skills.
Despite the restriction on gatherings, the locals had planned to go ahead with the procession.
The violence broke out when the Nishan Sahib, or the Sikh religious flag, was brought to a Gurdwara gate and participants in the event started arguing. A large group then broke through the gate of the gurudwara.
Maharashtra is recording the worst surge of coronavirus over the last week and the state government has imposed a series of restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
On Sunday, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government announced restrictions on large gatherings to curb the spread of the infection. The Chief Minister also asked officials to prepare for a lockdown as people were not following COVID safety protocols.
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