A major row erupted in West Bengal after a video of the police removing the turban of a Sikh man during a Bharatiya Janata Party rally in Howrah on October 8 was widely shared on social media. Issuing a statement, the police claimed that the person was carrying a firearm and that his headgear 'had fallen off automatically in the scuffle that ensued'.
A video of Sikh man being manhandled by the West Bengal police during BJP’s Nabanna Chalo rally in Howrah sparked massive controversy after it went viral on social media.
Issuing a statement, the police claimed that the person was carrying a firearm and that his headgear “had fallen off automatically in the scuffle that ensued”.
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The BJP accused the Trinamool Congress government of hurting the sentiments of Sikhs with cricketer Harbhajan Singh urging Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take a look into the matter.
West Bengal Police in a tweet said, “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. It is never our intention to hurt the sentiments of any community.”
The Sikh man was identified as 43-year-old Balwinder Singh, a resident of Bhatinda.
Former Director-General of West Bengal Police, Bhupendra Singh also commented about this incident. He said, “I can't really imagine that this incident could be a matter of debate. I have worked in West Bengal Police for about 35 years. I have handled hundreds of such illegal and political programs in my police life. But I have never seen such allegations against the police.”
“I also saw a video tweeted by the West Bengal Police. From my own working life experience, I can say that the young man certainly did not cooperate with the police. He interrupted the policemen. A scuffle began from there. I don’t think the policeman who was taking the young man has deliberately taken off his turban. Rather, it is clear that the turban had already been loosened during the scuffle. It opened automatically. While searching, I came to know that the young man was in a gathering with firearms during the BJP's Nabanna campaign. Naturally, the police noticed his firearm. He was stopped by the policemen on duty there for a very good reason,” he further added.
The DG also said, “I heard that many people protested the whole incident by tweeting. People feel that the religious sentiments of the Sikhs have been hurt. I am a Sikh myself. I was also a police officer. With these two identities in mind, I am saying that no religious sentiments have been hurt in any way here. Many such incidents have happened in my own life. Political programs can suddenly become violent. We carried sticks with us for handling the situation. Many such turbans were taken off then. But then I did not see anyone doing such 'politics' about this incident. My own turban has been taken off several times in a scuffle with the crowd. This is a very normal phenomenon.”
Last Updated 11, Oct 2020, 1:11 PM