Doctors replace ASI group severed hand in Patiala: officials

PATIALA: Doctors from Chandigarh's PGIMER successfully reattached an ASI hand severed in an attack by a group from Nihangs on Sunday, authorities said.

The assistant deputy inspector's hand was cut and two of his colleagues were injured when the group allegedly attacked them with swords after being asked to show curfews outside a wholesale vegetable market.

Hours after the incident, police arrested eight men from a gurdwara in the nearby town of Balbera. Police said they recovered weapons, some cash and cannabis during the raid.

A group of 'Nihangs' arrived at the vegetable market around 6.15 in the morning and Mandi board employees prevented them from entering since they were not carrying any passes.

The Nihang first beat the Mandi board employee and then forcibly entered the vegetable market.

The police officers present at the scene intervened and a fight broke out between them. During the fight, the Nihang drew swords and cut ASI Harjeet Singh's hand, while SHO Sadar Bilkar Singh and ASI Raj Singh suffered injuries to their shoulders, arms and legs.

After attacking the policemen, the men fled the scene towards a gurudwara.

Eight people, including five attackers, were arrested hours after an exchange of fire in a gurdwara where the group fled after the 6.15am incident in the city of Sanaur.

Patiala Senior Police Superintendent Mandeep Singh Sidhu, along with other top officials, soon arrived at the scene and sent additional forces to catch the accused.

Singh, along with his colleagues, was rushed to the Rajindra Hospital from where he was referred to PGI Chandigarh.

With a blockade in place to contain the spread of Covid-19, barricades were placed outside the wholesale market and entry was restricted to those with curfew passes.

The Nihang, members of a Sikh sect whose adherents carry traditional weapons and wear blue robes, arrived in an SUV and ‘mandi officials told them to stop, police said.

They were asked to show passes. But they hit the vehicle against the door and the barricades, Patiala Police Superintendent Mandeep Singh Sidhu said.

Punjab Prime Minister Amarinder Singh said he was proud of the mandi police party for professionally handling the situation. In a tweet, the CM said it had instructed the police to deal as strictly as possible with anyone who violates the law.