A LONG-standing dispute between rival Indian Workers Associations led to a heated exchange outside their disputed headquarters in Bradford today.

The groups, both of which have for years claimed to be the official Bradford branch of the national Indian Workers’ Association group, have been involved in a disagreement since 2001.

One of the issues the groups have been at loggerheads over in that time is the use of the Indian Workers’ Association base in Leeds Road.

The case reached Bradford County Court and a judge has now made a ruling over which is the rightful occupants of the building.

The Indian Workers Association GB were the claimants, and Judge Robert Bartfield sided with them over the rival group, Indian Workers Association (Bradford).

He said the claimants were entitled to possession of the building, and the Indian Workers Association (Bradford) “has no propriety interest therein.”

The Telegraph & Argus set up a photograph of Jagtar Sahota, of the victorious group, in front of the Leeds Road building this afternoon to go with a report about the judgement.

As the photocall was taking place, a man, thought to be from the rival group, arrived and a scuffle broke out in the street, with more men then joining in.

Mr Sahota has reported the incident to the police and it is now under investigation.

Nationally, the Indian Workers Association dates back to 1958 and was set up to promote the welfare of Indian immigrants in the UK.

Recent attempts to unify the two Bradford groups have ended in failure.

In his judgement, Judge Bartfield refers to evidence provided to him from the groups.

His ruling says: “Much of the material concerns discord between the two sides, some of it obscure in origin.

“I do not know what originated the animosity, some of which I observed during the trial.

“I found, however, that whereas the claimants presented as reasonable and conciliatory, the four who gave evidence on behalf of the defendants seem to have lost any sense of objectivity, taking any opportunity, often uninvited, to denigrate the claimants about matters peripheral or irrelevant to the issues.”

Councillor Mohammed Shafiq (Lab, Bradford Moor) has been working as a go-between with the two groups.

After the judgement he said: “I will continue to work with both of the groups, and we will try to work together for the benefit of the local community.”

Raghvir Singh Sangha, one of the defendants, said an appeal will be lodged against the ruling.