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Deadly Indian Riots After Sikh Shooting In Austria

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Author Topic: Deadly Indian Riots After Sikh Shooting In Austria  (Read 57 times)
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« on: May 25, 2009, 07:48:26 am »

                                            Deadly Indian riots after Sikh shooting in Austria

Jagmohan Singh
May 25, 2009

Two protesters were killed in India on Monday as mobs went on the rampage after a guru was shot dead in fighting between rival Sikh communities in Austria, police said.

The two men were killed in separate incidents when police opened fire to disperse angry crowds who rioted in many cities and towns across the northern state of Punjab.

They were protesting against the death of Sant Rama Nand, who was killed by fellow Sikhs in a temple in the Austrian capital of Vienna as he addressed 200 worshippers Sunday.

Demonstrators in Punjab torched four carriages of a train in the city of Jalandhar, police said, despite a curfew imposed to halt the violence.

In the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, police fired tear gas to control crowds after protesters torched dozens of buses. About 12 people were injured.

"One person was killed at Lambra village by the army bullet and another one was shot dead at Jalandhar by police in order to control the mob," a police officer who declined to be named told AFP.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, said he was "deeply distressed" by the attack on the guru and issued an appeal for calm.

"Whatever the provocation, it is important to maintain peace and harmony among different sections of the people," he said in a statement.

Sant Rama Nand, 56, died and 16 other people were injured in Vienna during the temple attack, which was reportedly over a dispute about the role of castes in the Sikh religion.

A second guru, or "teacher," Sant Niranjan Dass, 66, was among those wounded as Sikhs fought each other with guns and knives inside the temple.

The two gurus, who belong to a group representing low-caste Sikhs, were visiting Vienna to meet worshippers.

Leaders at the temple, which opened in 2005, have campaigned against the caste system, but their stance has angered other Sikhs in Austria.

Guru Nanak, who founded of the Sikh religion in the early 16th century, denounced the Hindu hierarchy of castes and taught that all people were equal regardless of caste or gender.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna blamed the attack on clan rivalry.

"Two groups of people owing allegiance to different families have set up confrontation amongst themselves and let the gurdwara (temple) be made the place where attacks and counter-attacks have taken place," he said.

Vienna police said Monday that six Indian men who lived in Austria had been arrested over the pre-planned assault.

Four of the alleged attackers were in a critical state in hospital, but the remaining two have been questioned, police said.

In Jalandhar, the Indian city where many low-caste Sikhs live, army patrols were out in force as protesters furious at the guru's death obstructed trains and erected road blocks on national highways to stop traffic.

"Officers have been deployed at sensitive points to check any untoward incidents," said police superintendent R.K. Jaiswal.

The Sikh religious community has about 2,800 followers in Austria and 25 million worldwide, most of them in northern India.

SEE STORY HERE:,18503.0.html
« Last Edit: May 25, 2009, 07:50:39 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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