Sikh man's turban pulled in scuffle with police at BJP rally in Bengal; Amarinder Singh seeks action against official

The West Bengal police, however, said that the person was carrying a firearm and that his headgear 'had fallen off automatically in the scuffle that ensued'

Press Trust of India October 10, 2020 11:56:25 IST
Sikh man's turban pulled in scuffle with police at BJP rally in Bengal; Amarinder Singh seeks action against official

Visuals of the police wrestling a 43-year-old Sikh man to the ground during the BJP's mega protest in Howrah on Thursday have set off a major controversy with the party accusing the police of hurting religious sentiments. Twitter/@mssirsa

Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Friday expressed shock at the "humiliating treatment" of a Sikh man by the police in West Bengal who allegedly pulled his turban while he was being taken into custody for carrying a firearm during a BJP rally.

"Not done, says Punjab Chief Minister @capt_amarinder, expressing shock at humiliating treatment of a Sikh youth by @WBPolice, who reportedly pulled off his turban during arrest," Singh's media advisor Raveen Thukral tweeted late on Friday evening.

The Punjab chief minister has urged his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee to take strict action "against concerned cop for hurting the Sikh religious sentiments".

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal also strongly condemned the "vicious attack".

A controversy erupted on Friday over the police allegedly assaulting the Sikh man and pulling his turban during a BJP rally in Howrah in West Bengal, but the police said the person was carrying a firearm and that his headgear "had fallen off automatically in the scuffle that ensued".

The incident drew wider social media attraction after cricketer Harbhajan Singh tweeted, tagging Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, to say, "Please look into the matter. This just isn't done."

As visuals of the incident went viral triggering a huge political controversy, the West Bengal government tweeted Friday, "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."

According to the police, a loaded pistol was recovered from him. The licence of the pistol is valid till January next year. It also said that the police officer concerned had asked him to "put his turban back before the arrest".

"West Bengal Police respects all religions. The officer specifically asked him to put his Pagri back before the arrest. The attached photo has been clicked right before he was escorted to the Police Station. We remain committed to our duty to uphold law and order in the state," it said in another tweet, with a photo of Singh in turban.

The man was identified as 43-year-old Balwinder Singh, a resident of Bhatinda.

Shiromani Akali Dal president Badal said that the Sikh man was a security official and the manner in which the policeman behaved with him has infuriated Sikhs across the globe.

"Strongly condemn the vicious attack on a Sikh security official Balwinder Singh and disrespect of his turban by West Bengal Police. The dishonour has infuriated Sikhs across the world," Badal tweeted.

He urged the Mamata Banerjee-led dispensation to "take exemplary action against the erring policeman".

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