TURLOCK (CBS13) – At a house of worship where you wouldn’t expect to see a massive brawl, cell phone video captured chaos.
Police moved in with Tasers drawn after a day of prayer at the Turlock Sikh temple was interrupted with punching and shoving – even some men swinging their religious swords called “kirpans.”
“The violent brawl with the kirpan could have been deadly today,” Harinder Toor said.
Toor was inside the temple when the melee started. He says a dispute over temple leadership became heated. And it’s nothing new, some members say.
Different factions have been fighting for power for years, Toor says. They’re now in a legal battle to win control over the temple’s decisions.
“I am I’m really worried because it portrays a negative connotation about our religion,” Toor said.
A peaceful religion, they say. But like many, burdened with ideology.
“This party, they want the order to be restored. But the other party [doesn’t] want it,” said temple member Harinder Hundel.
Many members of the congregation didn’t want to talk for fear of retaliation.
For now, a few people involved in the sword fight are recovering with cuts and bruises. No arrests were made.
Turlock police say previous fights officers responded to at the Sikh temple weren’t as bad. But with the conflict escalating, members say this is a dispute that will end up in court again.