An Indian police officer’s hand was lopped off in a terrifying sword attack while enforcing a coronavirus roadblock.
Harjit Singh, an assistant sub inspector with the Punjab Police, was patrolling the barricade outside a vegetable market in Patiala when seven men belonging to the Nihang Sikh warrior sect turned violent.
When the police asked the men for travel passes, one of them brandished his sword and sliced off Singh’s left hand.
Officers Jatinder Singh Aulakh and Mandeep Singh Sidhu show sharp-edged weapons recovered from the arrested Nihangs
Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel patrol a street during lockdown to control the spread of the new coronavirus in Ahmedabad, India
Indian women stand in marked circles to maintain distance as they wait to receive face masks, gloves and hand sanitizers
Chandigarh Police personnel stand guard near barricades on day nineteen of the 21 day nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus
The assailants were arrested and brought into custody, but Singh and six fellow officers suffered injuries and were rushed to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, according to CNN.
After more than seven hours of ‘painstaking’ surgery, doctors managed to reattach Singh’s severed limb to his left wrist.
Captain Amarinder Singh of the Punjab Police tweeted: ‘Police Party on Naka duty was attacked today in which one ASI’s hand was cut off and six were injured.
‘Police cornered the culprits and have taken them into custody.’
India has been put under a blanket lockdown, effectively quarantining its 1.3billion citizens.
But still the country’s number of cases continues to climb, with a total 9,152 infections reported today, including 308 deaths.
As well as police, India’s minority Muslim population is also bearing the brunt of inflamed tensions.
The country’s health ministry pinned the blame of the virus on an Islamic seminary, which sparked a wave of violence.
Young Muslim men delivering food were bludgeoned with cricket bats, and others have been nearly lynched, according to the New York Times.
Captain Amarinder Singh of the Punjab Police tweeted: ‘Police Party on Naka duty was attacked today in which one ASI’s hand was cut off and six were injured’
The 21-day shutdown is due to end on Tuesday night, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi is widely expected to extend it.
However the measures to stem the tide of infection has left millions out of work threatens to bring the economy to its knees.
The World Bank forecast India’s economic growth could drop to 1.5 per cent to 2.8 percent in the fiscal year that started on April 1, the weakest pace in three decades.
Modi has asked his cabinet colleagues to come up with plans to open up some crucial industries as the livelihoods of millions of people were at stake, a government source involved the deliberations said.
One plan is to restart some manufacturing in the autos, textiles, defence and electronics sectors, according to a government note that Reuters has reviewed. Firms could start a quarter of their operations while ensuring social distancing, the note said.
An Indian paramilitary soldier stops people on a scooter during lockdown in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir
‘As the prime minister has indicated, we will have to move towards economic activity, while taking utmost care of the lockdown and social distancing,’ said Manohar Lal Khattar, chief minister of the northern state of Haryana.
He said he planned to divide his state into three zones – a red zone where there have been the most cases of coronavirus, followed by orange with fewer cases, and green where no outbreak has been reported. The federal government may employ a similar plan, officials said.
Khattar added: ‘In the green zone, small and medium industries will be allowed to start operations, provided the entrepreneur gives us an undertaking to fulfil the guidelines in letter and spirit.
‘We want small industries to start operations at lower capacity first.’