Chandigarh: Hours after the Punjab assistant sub inspector’s hand was chopped off, police arrested nine men, including five assailants, from a Gurdwara in nearby Balbera village and recovered arms, cash, bags full of cannabis and petrol bombs.

"Authorities said that more than 20 Nihang Sikhs have been detained by Patiala Police in connection with the attack. Sharp objects, automatic weapons, and petrol bombs along with Rs 35 lakh in cash have also been recovered from the Gurudwara in Balbera village where the attackers took shelter on Sunday morning," said Patiala IG Jatinder Singh Aulakh.

"Nine persons have been arrested till now in connection with the attack in which the hand of a Punjab Police ASI was chopped off here earlier today," ANI quoted Mandeep Singh, senior superintendent of police (SSP).

A group of four-five men dressed as 'Nihangs' (also known as immortals, these are armed Sikh warriors who are believed to be descendants of Guru Gobind Singh Ji's son Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji, and are seen in an attire similar to his own) travelling in a vehicle, were denied entry to the Patiala Sabzi Mandi at around 6:15 am on April 12 by the mandi board officials. "They were asked to show (curfew) passes. But they crashed the vehicle against the gate and barricades put up there," senior superintendent of police (SSP), Patiala, Mandeep Singh Sidhu said.

The group then attacked the police personnel on duty, added Sidhu. "An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) hand was chopped off with a sword. The station house officer (SHO) of Sadar-Patiala sustained an injury on his elbow and another official suffered an injury on his arm," Sidhu said.

Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that instructions have been given to the police to deal with anyone breaking the law in the strictest possible manner.

The ASI was rushed to the Rajindra hospital from where he was referred to PGIMER in Chandigarh. According to the latest inputs, ASI Harjeet Singh is undergoing surgery at PGIMER in Chandigarh. The fugitives fled the scene after the attack and were traced to Balbera where local police surrounded them and asked them to surrender.