Punjab Special Chief Secretary KBS Sidhu said on Sunday that seven people, who had donned the robes of “Nihangs” and allegedly attacked police personnel in Patiala after defying the coronavirus-related lockdown, have been arrested, ANI reported. Nihangs are members of the Sikh community who usually carry traditional weapons and are dressed in blue.
However, PTI reported that the number of “Nihangs” who had allegedly attacked the police on Saturday was only four or five. The attackers, who were travelling in a vehicle, were asked to stop at a vegetable market around 6.15 am by the Mandi board officials.
“They were asked to show curfew passes,” Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police Mandeep Singh Sidhu said. “But they crashed the vehicle against the gate and barricades put up there. An assistant sub inspector’s hand was chopped off with a sword. A station house officer of Sadar Patiala sustained an injury on his elbow and another officer suffered an injury on his arm in the attack.”
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The policeman whose hand was chopped off was taken to Rajindra Hospital, from where he was moved to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, or PGIMER, in Chandigarh. Later, officials told PTI that the surgery to reattach the policeman’s hand was successful.
The attackers fled to the Nihang Gurdwara Sahib after the assault, NDTV reported. The Special Operations Group of the Punjab Police then reached the area and asked the attackers to surrender. The individuals were arrested from the gurdwara in Balbera village.
“After a two-hour stand-off, a team of mediators headed by the local sarpanch, entered the gurdwara,” Punjab Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said. “After another half an hour, the perpetrators surrendered. They came out carrying swords and knives. The police also recovered gas cylinders which could have been used as explosives.”
Punjab had on Saturday extended its lockdown from April 14 to May 1. So far, the state reported 151 cases of Covid-19. Out of these, five people have recovered and 11 have died, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.