A minor clash broke out between members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC)’s task force and Sikh activists trying to stop the construction of a Jora Ghar (a place for devotees to keep their shoes when they visit the temple) near the Akal Takht secretariat outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Wednesday. No one was injured in the incident, though some blows were exchanged, sources said.
Incidentally, Wednesday’s clash was the second time within a month that both the parties had clashed over the construction of the Jora Ghar. On July 16, a group of construction volunteers and Sikh activists had clashed when the volunteers tried to fill concrete into some underground tunnel-like structures discovered during excavation work.
Pictures and videos of the old tunnel-like structures had gone viral on social media, after which the Sikh Sadbhavna Dal had asked SGPC to stop construction work of the Jora Ghar at the site.
Sadbhawna Dal head, Baldev Singh Wadala, also announced that a jatha of eleven Sikhs would from today (Wednesday) visit the spot daily to stop the construction of the Jora Ghar and protect the heritage structures that had been discovered.
The first Jatha left for the construction site on Wednesday but was stopped by Punjab Police. Later, a few Sikh activists managed to dodge security and reach near the construction site. However, SGPC task force members were present in heavy numbers and they confronted the protesting Sikh activists, leading to a minor clash.
A few journalists present at the spot also alleged that they were manhandled by the SGPC task force members, with one woman journalist, Palvinder Kaur, alleging that her mobile phone was snatched by task force members.