A police constable was killed and six other persons were injured in a clash with a group of Nihang Sikhs in Punjab’s Kapurthala district, The Indian Express reported.
The clash took place amid a dispute between two Nihang factions in connection with control of a gurdwara in the district’s Sultanpur Lodhi town. On Thursday morning, the police tried to remove members of a faction from the gurdwara, after which the firing took place, the Hindustan Times reported.
The constable who died has been identified as Jaspal Singh. The injured persons are being treated at the Sultanpur Lodhi Civil Hospital.
Tensions escalated in the area ahead of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, on November 27.
After the firing, a group of heavily-armed Nihangs have locked the gurdwara from inside, according to the Hindustan Times. The police have barricaded the area and begun talks with the group to get them to vacate the Sikh temple.
The police have arrested five persons and registered a case under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, Additional Director General of Police Arpit Shukla told ANI.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased constable. The Aam Aadmi Party government in the state said that it will also provide Rs 1 crore to Singh’s family, while another Rs 1 crore will be provided as insurance.