Eight arrested after fight at Queens temple

April 26, 2011 2:08:39 PM PDT
Authorities have charged eight people involved in a fight at a sikh temple in Queens.

This was the fourth fight inside of the temple, and one passerby asked Eyewitness News if it was war again.

This a political power struggle with two distinctly different versions of the story, and followers are caught in the middle.

It was a peaceful Sunday morning worship service at Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Sikh Center in Richmond Hill, until dozens of men barged in around 11:30am.

"They like a gangster and had some people outside. And they bring a big knife and they bring the baseball and kicker ball and battle stick," said Jarnail Singh, Temple President.

Video was released of the worship service gone violent, and you can hear loud clanking noises and you see men grabbing swords and frantically running across the room as the camera lens bounces around.

Singh says the physical fight is part of a battle to hold new presidential elections.

The man leading the opposition, Harinder Singh says Jarnail Singh refused to step down at the beginning of the year as agreed and says the Sunday melee started with an off-camera fight causing a crowd of followers to rush in.

"The people on Jarnail Singh's side, the already have the weapons outside to inside to pray," said Harinder Singh.

One man says he broke his finger protecting his face which still has cuts and bruises.

Eight people have been charged with riot and assault charges.

Many followers say they are embarrassed by incident.