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Blood spills in shrine clash

Six persons were injured, two of them seriously, when two warring factions of poll-bound Tinplate Gurdwara Committee literally crossed swords over account anomalies in Sidhgora, Jamshedpur, on Sunday morning.

While four of the injured, who sustained gashes in their shoulders and hands, were treated and discharged from MGM Medical College and Hospital in Sakchi, two others including the committee’s erstwhile president Gurucharan Singh Bille have been shifted to Tata Main Hospital with deeper wounds.

Police said they were waiting to monitor the CCTV camera footage to nail the guilty.

Sources said trouble at Tinplate Gurdwara started around 11am when the Manjit Singh group sought fresh record of expenses from former head Bille who refused saying he had already submitted one earlier. Agitated aides of Singh called Bille names, prompting supporters of the latter to desecrate the turban belonging to the first group.

Singh’s men then pounced on Bille and his loyalists with kirpans (ceremonial swords and daggers carried by devout Sikhs). The Bille group retaliated with their similar sharp-edged weapons. The bloodshed stopped only after a police team from Sidhgora, led by OC Sambhu Nath Gupta, arrived at the scene around noon.

Speaking to reporters from his hospital bed, Bille said he had cleared papers a month ago. “I kept telling them that I had shown details of expenses last month, but they wouldn’t believe me. They asked me to leave the gurdwara since I am no longer the president. This triggered an altercation, which took an ugly turn,” he added.

Kuldeep Singh of the Singh faction, who was also injured in the clash, claimed that Bille’s supporters were the first to insult the holy turban, which frayed nerves and led to the dagger fight.

An election to form the new Tinplate Gurdwara Committee for a term of two years is slated within a fortnight. Police said the clash took place when the outgoing executive panel led by Bille was mulling over a fresh poll date.

Sidhgora OC Gupta said that both sides gave conflicting versions on how the bloodspill began and hence, they needed to base the probe on camera surveillance. “As of now, we have not received any written complaint. The guilty will be brought to book once we study the CCTV footage,” he added.