As a result of the attack for hurting religious sentiments, the West Bengal Police on Saturday explained that the Sikh man’s turban was “fallen off automatically” and “without any attempt” by the police during the scuffle that broke out in the midst of BJP’s march to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ‘s office earlier this week. The man was “specifically” asked to wear his turban before he was arrested, he added.
The man, Balwinder Singh (46), is a private security guard of BJP leader Priyanshu Pandey and was arrested on Thursday for allegedly carrying a loaded gun during the Nabanna rally. Pandey was also arrested. Police said Balwinder, a resident of Punjab’s Bhatinda, is also an aide to BJP’s Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh.
Balwinder is seen to be lathi-charged and dragged by the police in a viral video on social media. His turban was “removed” in the melee, the BJP leaders said.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The concerned person was carrying firearms in yesterday's protest. The Pagri had fallen off automatically in the scuffle that ensued,without any attempt to do so by our officer (visible in the video attached). It is never our intention to hurt the sentiments of any community(1/2) <a href=”https://t.co/aE8UgN36W5″>pic.twitter.com/aE8UgN36W5</a></p>— West Bengal Police (@WBPolice) <a href=”https://twitter.com/WBPolice/status/1314599460882636802?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 9, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Refuting the accusations, the state police tweeted, “The person concerned was carrying weapons in a protest yesterday. The [turban] pagri had fallen off automatically in the scuffle that followed, without any attempt to do so by our officer [visible in the video attached]. It’s never our goal to hurt the feelings of any group.
While referring to a photograph of the Sikh man who, they claimed, had been clicked before his arrest, the police said: “The West Bengal Police respects all religions. He was clearly requested by the officer to put his pagri back before the arrest. The attached photo was clicked just before he was escorted to the Police Station. We remain committed to our duty to uphold the law and order of the state.
The incident attracted the attention of cricketer Harbhajan Singh, who demanded stern action against the guilty party.
“Pulling the turban of Balwinder Singh posted in Priyanshu Pandey’s security… shows Bengal Police’s barbarity. @MamataOfficial, take strict action against the guilty policemen…,” he tweeted.
SAD spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa requested that the guilty policemen be reported under Section 295A of the IPC [acts intended to offend religious].
BJP National Secretary Arvind Menon said the incident “insulted the Sikh culture.”
BJP President Dilip Ghosh said the security guard was carrying a “licensed gun.”
Police said the gun license was limited to the Rajouri district of J&K alone.
Rally to condemn the alleged attack on the Sikh man
Around 50 members of the Sikh community held a protest rally in the city today condemning the alleged attack on the Sikh man, news agency PTI reported.
“CM Mamata Banerjee, please explain why the Sikh turban has been pulled by your police. You should clarify or quit the chair,” the rally chanted on Central Avenue near Esplanade Crossing.