In the span of a single week in early June, two fights broke out at Turlock's Sikh Temple.
The Turlock Police Department responded to a disturbance at the Sikh Temple in Turlock on June 9, after being notified that an altercation had broken out in the dining hall.
At approximately 1 p.m., eight Turlock Police officers arrived at the temple, known as Gurudwara Turlock and located at 1373 Fifth St.
“I do not know how many individuals were involved in the incident, and there were no reports of injuries,” said Turlock Police Lt. Miguel Pacheco. “There were no arrests made and no mention of weapons being used.”
According to the police report filed, the altercation was verbal only and no crimes were committed, Pacheco said.
A video posted to YouTube on June 5 depicts a separate incident involving a physical altercation between several adult men at the Turlock Sikh Temple. During the fight, one man can be seen using his belt to beat others as they continue to engage in a brawl outside of the temple.
According to an eyewitness, the fight lasted roughly 30 minutes.
“The police showed up and asked questions, but that was it,” said the eyewitness, who asked not to be named. “The people involved in the fighting saw police show up and things simmered down real quick. It really is a shame though. [It is] no one else’s fault but the Sikh community itself for letting it get this out of control.”
A separate source, who asked not to be quoted, informed TurlockCityNews.com that the incidents trace back to a dispute over leadership at the temple. Some have called for the leadership, which has been in place for years, to leave, the source said.
Comments made about the fights on the Sikh Temple's Facebook page, which have since been taken down, seem to allude to the leadership dispute.
“I strongly believe younger generation can run (the temple) peacefully and more efficiently,” read a post attributed to “Jashan.” “We just gotta step in and take matters in our own hands as our elderly aren't doing what they are supposed to!! To them their social status matters more than guru sahibs respect. Wake up youth. Get involved! Not in fighting!”
Most comments on the Facebook page were focused on moving past the disputes, arguing that a sacred temple was no place for fighting.
“This fight was ignited by personal issues,” read a post made by the temple's Facebook account. “Now we can only request these people (both parties) to not let this happen again.”
A YouTube videos of the fight can be viewed below: