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1 Dead, 7 Hurt in Sikh Riot at Golden Temple

Associated Press

Sikh militants went on a rampage today in the Golden Temple during an anti-government rally on the second anniversary of the bloody army assault on their holiest shrine. One man was killed and seven people were injured.

About 200 militants armed with swords, knives and iron bars began attacking members of a volunteer force guarding the temple as the rally drew to a close.

Police and security forces entered the temple complex to break up the melee. But the militants who led the rampage--including the widow of the man shot while assassinating Prime Minister Indira Gandhi--managed to escape.

The volunteer guard who died was beaten over the head and then stabbed. Police identified him as Avtar Singh, 45, a Sikh who was a former soldier in the Indian army.

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Police said seven other people were injured when members of two militant groups suddenly charged into the main temple complex at the end of the rally.

Police and security forces carried assault guns when they entered the complex. However, the officers did not fire their weapons and did not enter the Golden Temple itself.

More than 5,000 Sikhs attended the “Martyrs’ Day” rally at the temple, where they denounced the government and demanded the ouster of Punjab’s chief minister.


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