India coronavirus: Doctor's reattach policeman's hand severed in lockdown attack
Doctors have reattached the severed hand of an Indian policeman who was attacked while enforcing the coronavirus lockdown in Punjab state.
The assault took place on Sunday in Patiala district. Sub-inspector Harjeet Singh is recovering in hospital.
Eleven people, reportedly from the Nihang Sikh religious sect, have been arrested in connection with the attack.
All Indian states are in lockdown until 15 April as part of efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Doctors said the surgery was very complex and challenging, but sub-inspector Singh was likely to make a full recovery.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh congratulated the medical team.
I am proud of the @PunjabPoliceInd party under SI Bikkar Singh for professionally handling this situation. ASI Harjeet Singh is undergoing plastic surgery in PGI-Chandigarh, praying for a successful surgery. (2/2)
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) April 12, 2020
End of Twitter post by @capt_amarinder
Sub-inspector Singh had reprimanded his attackers for violating the lockdown.
After the attack on the police, the men escaped to a nearby village and took shelter in a gurdwara complex, according to media reports.
Eleven persons were have been arrested in connection with horrendous attack on a police party at vegetable market in Patiala this morning, in which an ASI’s hand was cut off by a group of Nihangs……..(1/2) pic.twitter.com/yDC4tmQ8rq
— Government of Punjab (@PunjabGovtIndia) April 12, 2020
End of Twitter post by @PunjabGovtIndia
They refused to surrender and fired at police but eventually came out of the gurdwara after police called for reinforcements.
Three separate cases of attempt to murder, grievous bodily harm and attack on a public servant have been registered against the accused.
Several Sikh groups, including the Nihangs, have condemned the incident.
Policemen have been at the forefront of enforcing the lockdown across the country. They have come under attack in other states as well.
But the attack in Punjab has been the most brutal. A viral video of the incident shows the injured policeman asking his colleagues to help him.
Who are the Nihangs?
The word nihang means crocodile. Many scholars of Sikh history state that the Nihangs were earlier also called Nihang Akalis. Various historical accounts describe them as the mainstay of the Sikh warrior army that took up the cudgels with India's former Mughal rulers.
Dressed up in their trademark blue, they are known for their martial arts and sword-fighting skills.
The sect was responsible for protecting the Sikh faith and its followers. The group's role is largely ceremonial in the present context, but they still carry swords and knives as a part of their attire.