A group of Sikhs protesting the holding of a religious congregation by sect leader Ashutosh Maharaj in Ludhiana clashed with the police, which used tear gas and batons to quell them, leaving one dead and 12 others injured.
Led by former Jathedar of Akal Takht Jasbir Singh Rode and some other radical leaders including Damdami Taksal Chief Mokham Singh and Harnam Singh, the protestors, some of whom brandishing swords, reached Samrala Chowk, less than a kilometre from the congregation spot of Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan chief.
The police tried to stop them at the barricaded check post but they refused to heed following which police opened fire in the air, Deputy Inspector General of Police Ludhiana Range Sharad Chauhan said.
The police then used batons and teargas to disperse the Sikhs.
A spokesman of a local hospital said one person was brought dead and 12 others were injured in the clash.
A number of vehicles, including those of the police, were damaged by the marching protestors resulting in disruption of traffic on various roads, including the Delhi Ludhiana national highway passing through the industrial town.
The Sikh protestors had commenced a dharna some distance away from the congregation site even as police personnel had been deployed in strength to control the situation in the wake of clashes between Sikhs and police at several places."We fired in the air after tear gas failed to stop the protestors who damaged a number of police and private vehicles," the DIG said.