CHANDIGARH: An Assistant Sub Inspector's hand was chopped off with a sword and two other Punjab policemen injured on Sunday, when a group of Nihangs attacked them after being asked to show curfew passes at a vegetable market in Patiala district, police said.
Seven people, including five attackers, were arrested hours later after an exchange of fire at a gurdwara where the group fled after the 6.15 am incident in Sanaur town.
One of the arrested men suffered gunshot wound, police said. A `mandi' official was also hurt earlier.
A video clip on social media appears to show Assistant Sub Inspector Harjeet Singh seeking help. A man picks up the severed hand and gives it to the officer. He is then taken away from the scene on a two-wheeler.
The ASI was rushed to Rajindra hospital nearby and then referred to PGIMER in Chandigarh where he was undergoing surgery, police said. The other injuresd policemen include Sadar Patiala's station house officer.
With a lockdown in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, barricades were put up outside the wholesale market and entry restricted to those with curfew passes.
The Nihangs are members of a Sikh sect whose adherents carry traditional arms and wear blue robes -- arrived in an SUV and were told to stop by ‘mandi' officials, police said.
"They were asked to show passes. But they rammed the vehicle against the gate and the barricades," Patiala's Senior Superintendent of Police Mandeep Singh Sidhu said.
The group then attacked the police personnel and fled to Gurdwara Khichri Sahib managed by them in Balbera village, around 25 km from Patiala city. In their operation, policemen led by Inspector General (Patiala Zone) Jatinder Singh Aaulakh stopped the movement of people a kilometer away from the gurdwara and surrounded it, police said. “Seven persons have been arrested,” Punjab Director General police Dinkar Gupta later said. (With inputs from PTI)