Clashes were reported between Hindutva groups and Sikhs in Australia during a referendum called by Sikhs For Justice for the creation of an independent Sikh state, international media reported.
The brief fracas broke out at 4.30 pm on Sunday Hindutva groups waving flags arrived at the voting site in Federation Square, Melbourne, The Age reported.
The Victoria Police, which used pepper spray to quell the protests, said two men, aged 34 and 39, were arrested and issued a penalty notice for their riotous behaviour.
In several videos posted on Twitter, Sikhs and Hindutva men were seen attacking each other.
The Referendum campaign is being run across the world by pro-Khalistan Sikhs For Justice, calling for a new state that would take in the Punjab regions of northern India and Pakistan.
“In both incidents, police quickly responded to separate and disperse the crowd,” the statement read, as per Yahoo News Australia.
Police went on to confirm that they arrested two people in the brawls.
“As a result of each incident, a 34-year-old man and a 39-year-old man were arrested and each was issued with a penalty notice for riotous behaviour,” they said.
The Melbourne East Neighbourhood Policing Team is continuing to investigate after it was identified that two men were injured, one with a laceration to his head and another with a hand injury, the report said. Police say the pair were treated at the scene by ambulance paramedics for what was believed to be minor injuries. They’re now calling on anyone who witnessed the incidents, or has information, to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
It’s believed the violence began when Hindutva groups arrived at the voting site in Federation Square, and clashed with Sikhs.
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