17 People Charged Over Scuffle at Indiana Gurdwara in U.S.
While 17 people were charged with disorderly conduct, two of them would also face battery charges for allegedly using a pepper spray on a 13-year-old girl’s face.
Authorities charged 17 people over a huge brawl that erupted at a Sikh gurdwara in Greenwood, Indiana, leaving many injured. The Johnson County prosecutor has filed charges against the people who are believed to have instigated the violence in an incident that took place in April this year, Indianapolis Star reported.
Another person, besides the 17 people named so far, would be charged soon in connection with the case that unfolded on April 14, Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper was reported as saying on July 2.
“Whether this took place in a temple, or a Walmart or anywhere else. If you’re going to engage in this kind of conduct in the public, then you should expect to be charged with a crime,” Cooper said, Abc13.com reported.
The charges were made two months after the incident since the officials were waiting for the identification of the culprits through surveillance video. “We put the video on and went through it person, by person, by person,” Cooper said, according to the report.
While 17 people were charged with disorderly conduct, two of them would also face battery charges for allegedly using a pepper spray on a 13-year-old girl’s face. A battery charge carries prison sentence of up to a year and a $5,000 fine, the Indianapolis Star reported.
The fracas is reported to have erupted following disagreements over leadership elections. About 100 people had gathered at the gurdwara for the event when some of them got engaged in a fight. One of them even smashed a teapot over another person’s head.
About 50 people got involved in the scuffle, who were seen kicking, shoving and punching each other in surveillance video clips, 24-Hour News 8 had reported earlier. At least two people were stabbed with the kirpan, with the injuries being deep enough to cause bone cracks, the publication had reported, citing photos of the alleged injuries shared by a temple leader. At least one man was hospitalized with a cracked shoulder, the report had added.
Members of the Sikh community expressed satisfaction with the recent development regarding the case. “Everyone feels relieved, and it brings the trust back into the system that something finally did happen,” temple member Sukhjinder Mahal was quoted as saying by Abc13.com. “This is a loud and clear message, not only to the Sikh community, to the whole community here that this should not happen again,” Gurinder Singh Khalsa told the publication.
About 10,000 Sikhs live in Indiana, the Indianapolis Star had reported earlier.