The lockdown situation in Punjab’s Patiala district took a bloody turn on Sunday (April 12) when a group of nihangs (men of a religious sect) chopped off the hand of a policeman and left two other injured in a vegetable market, when the latter questioned them for breaking lockdown norms.
Police have arrested seven people responsible for the attack.
Speaking to NDTV, police chief Dinkar Gupta said that a vehicle carrying nihangs broke police barricades near the vegetable market at 6 am and when the policemen asked its occupants to show their curfew passes, they attacked the patrol party.
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The police reportedly sent reinforcements including Special Operation Groups to the Nihang Gurdwara Saheb where the nihangs had taken refuge after the attack, to ask them to surrender.
“After a two-hour stand-off, a team of mediators headed by the local sarpanch, entered the gurdwara. 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,” NDTV quoted Gupta as saying.
The injured officer, Harjeet Singh, an assistant sub-inspector was rushed to the hospital in Chandigarh where doctors are performing a plastic surgery on him.
“A group of Nihangs injured a few Police officers and a Mandi Board official at Sabzi Mandi, Patiala. ASI Harjeet Singh whose hand got cut-off has reached PGI Chandigarh,” Gupta had tweeted soon after the attack.
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The state, which has reported 151 cases and five deaths due to COVID-19 so far, on Friday extended the lockdown till May 1 amid fears that it may be moving into the community transmission stage (stage 3) of the COVID outbreak.