Sikhs Clash at Golden Temple in India On Assault Anniversary

Members of Sikh radical groups clash with Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) supporters, after a prayer and remembrance meeting for the Sikh separatists who lost their lives during Operation Blue Star in 1984 at the Golden Temple EPA/RAMINDER PAL SINGH

NEW DELHI (DPA) — At least six people were injured in clashes Friday as members of the Sikh community gathered at the Golden Temple in the northern Indian town of Amritsar to mark the 30th year of a military assault on the temple complex.

The clashes followed a scuffle over the microphone being used to address the gathering, said an official from the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the top Sikh religious body.

Television pictures showed sword-wielding Sikhs clad in traditional dress and turbans attacking each other.

SGPC official Dalmegh Singh said the task force of the SGP which looks after security at the Golden Temple, the Sikhs' holiest shrine, had soon brought the situation under control.

"Six people suffered injuries and have been admitted to hospital," Singh said.

"We are very sad that such clashes have taken place on this saddest of days when we remember all those innocent people who died," said Prem Singh Chandumajra of the Shiromani Akali Dal, the party which runs the government in Punjab state.

"It is unfortunate the sanctity of the Golden Temple has been disturbed," Chandumajra, who was present at the temple, was quoted as saying by NDTV news channel.

The Golden Temple is located in Punjab, which has a majority Sikh population.

The Indian army carried out a six-day raid on the Golden Temple in June 1984, in an attempt to remove Sikh militants, who had been holed up inside for several years.

Hundreds of people including soldiers were killed, according to the Indian government. Sikh groups dispute the figures, saying thousands died, including many innocent pilgrims.

Months after the raid, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards, in what was believed to be a revenge attack.