At least four police personnel were injured after a mob of sword-wielding men on Monday went on a rampage outside a gurudwara after being denied permission to hold a public procession in Maharashtra's Nanded due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Police have arrested 14 people. The Wazirabad police in Maharashtra's Nanded district have registered three FIRs against 64 people (who have been named in the FIRs) and other unidentified persons in connection with Monday's incident at the Sri Hazur Sahib gurdwara, he said.
Several visuals have emerged from the incident showing the sword-wielding mob barging out of the gurdwara, breaking the barricades put up by police and attacking the policemen after permission to celebrate 'Hola Mohalla' tradition was denied. Several vehicles were also damaged in the violence.
"Permission for the Hola Mohalla public procession was not granted due to the pandemic. The gurdwara committee was informed and they had assured us that they would abide by our directives and hold the event inside the gurdwara premises," Nanded Range DIG Nisar Tamboli told PTI.
"However, when the Nishan Sahib was brought at the gate around 4 pm, several participants started arguing and over 300 youth stormed out of the gate, broke the barricades and began attacking the policeman," he said.
Tamboli said the condition of one of the four constables was serious.
He said six vehicles of police were damaged by the mob.
Tamboli said an FIR will be registered against at least 200 people under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntary causing hurt with dangerous weapons), 188 (Disobeying the order of public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and for rioting.
"Those involved in violence will be arrested," he added.
Nishan Sahib is a triangular saffron-coloured flag furling outside a gurdwara on a steel pole covered with a saffron-coloured cloth. The flag also has an insignia called Khanda in the middle, which includes two swords and a chakra.
Hola Mohalla (Hola) is a Sikh festival that comes a day after Holi.
Unlike Holi, when people sprinkle the coloured powder on each other, Hola Mohalla is an occasion for Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills.
Nanded is an important Sikh pilgrimage centre as it is home to a sacred shrine, the Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchal Nagar Sahib. It was here that the 10th and last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), anointed the holy book Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhism and spent the last 14 months of his life.
With PTI inputs