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Gurdwara clash over priest post

The 347th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh were marred by a power struggle at Takht Shri Harmandir Sahib in Patna City on Tuesday morning.

At least four people were injured when two groups of devotees clashed over the appointment of the Takht’s additional head priest. Police rushed to contain the situation. Additional forces were deployed with chief minister Nitish Kumar due to visit the shrine on Tuesday evening.

An officer at Chowk police station said: “During the morning discourse at the shrine’s Diwaan Hall, head priest Gyani Iqbal Singh tried stopping general secretary Charanjeet Singh from announcing Partap Singh’s name as the additional head priest. Partap is the chief priest of another gurdwara in Punjab and is in the city with his followers to attend the function at the shrine. A big group of Partap’s supporters allegedly attacked Iqbal and his people. No major casualty was reported and the situation was contained.”

Those injured included Gyani Iqbal Singh, another priest, Guru Dayal Singh, Iqbal’s son, Guru Prakash Singh, and Ban Gurjeet Singh.

“On the basis of the statement of Iqbal Singh and his son, an FIR was lodged against seven people at Chowk police station. Investigations are on,” said Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj.

The shrine authorities declined comment.