New Delhi, India — The bodies of six Sikhs, including two priests, were found stabbed in a Sikh temple in the worst reported case of violence in northern Punjab  state since an army operation last summer, reports said.

The Press Trust of India said the six bodies were found Monday in the temple in the Bhatinda district of Punjab, about 150 miles north of New Delhi. Punjab Police Director General K.S. Dhillon was quoted as saying the six were killed with “sharp-edged weapons.” He said a possible motive was ‘“‘personal enmity”’ but did not elaborate.

The six were apparently slain Sunday night, the Press Trust said.

Two of the victims were priests, one in charge of the temple and the other responsible for reading the holy Sikh scriptures, the news agency said. The other four victims were not immediately identified.

 The Press Trust said a large contingent of police was ordered posted around the temple.

The murders represented the single worst case of violence reported in Punjab since last June, when the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered army troops to storm the Golden Temple

Of Amritsar, the Sikh’s holiest shrine.

The ornate white temple, 250 miles northwest of New Delhi, was the headquarter for a peaceful campaign for autonomy in which 300 Sikh young men were killed by police in false encounters in the two years before the army invasion. Thousands of innocent people, most of them Sikhs, were killed in the 1984 army attack, which led to Gandhi’s death five months later. She was assassinated Oct. 31 by two of her Sikh bodyguards avenging the army attack on the temple.

Sikhism was founded in the 16th century as a mystical, monotheistic alternative to Hinduism and Islam.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 8, 1985