India condemns Vienna violence, wants attackers punished (Lead)

May 25th, 2009 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) India Monday condemned the clashes involving rival Sikh groups in Vienna, which triggered violence in Punjab, and said it has asked Austrian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of this “completely mindless and wanton attack are brought to justice”.
“It’s a very unfortunate and disturbing development that two groups of people owing allegiance to different families have set up a confrontation among themselves. It’s sad that the attack took place at a gurdwara,” S.M. Krishna said after taking charge as the new external affairs minister.

“There is no place for violence in a secular society like India and certainly no excuse for terror and violation of the sacred premises of a gurdwara to subserve narrow sectarian interests,” Krishna stressed.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation and are in close touch with our mission in Vienna. We are also in close touch with the Austrian authorities,” Krishna said.

He was commenting on Sunday’s violence in Vienna in which one person was killed and at least 15 people were hurt when rival Sikh groups clashed in a gurdwara during a sermon.

“We are determined to ensure that the perpetrators of this completely mindless and wanton attack are brought to justice,” Krishna stressed.

“It’s sad that one person has lost his life,” he said while alluding to the death in the skirmish of Sant Rama Nand, a religious leader who was on a visit to the Austrian capital.

This was the 77-year-old Krishna’s first full day in office after he was named India’s new external affairs minister Saturday.

Six people have been arrested for their suspected role in the clash in Vienna. More arrests are likely to take place soon.

Devotees of Shri Guru Ravidass, whose writings have been included in the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib, meet regularly in a gurdwara near Vienna’s busy West train station.

A sermon in the Sikh shrine, attended by women and children, turned bloody Sunday when five people brandished knives and a sixth fired from a pistol. The armed men were overpowered by the devotees. Many were hurt.

Austria is home to around 3,000 Indians.

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