Updated: October 10, 2020 1:42:09 pm
<span itemprop="image" itemscope="" itemtype="https://schema.org/ImageObject"> <meta itemprop="url" content="https://images.indianexpress.com/2020/10/bengal-turban.jpg"/><meta itemprop="width" content="1200"/><meta itemprop="height" content="667"/></span><span class="custom-caption"> <span class="ie-custom-caption">The man was "specifically" asked to wear his turban prior to his arrest, police said. [Twitter/@WBPolice]</span></span>Under attack for <a href="https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/religious-sentiments-hurt-bjp-on-turban-controversy-6719032/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><strong>hurting religious sentiments</strong></a>, the West Bengal Police on Saturday clarified that the turban of a Sikh man had “fallen off automatically” and “without any attempt” by police personnel during the scuffle which broke out amid <a href="https://indianexpress.com/about/bjp/" class="" rel="nofollow">BJP</a>’s march to Chief Minister <a href="https://indianexpress.com/about/mamata-banerjee" class="" rel="nofollow">Mamata Banerjee</a>’s office earlier this week. The man was “specifically” asked to wear his turban prior to his arrest, it added.
The man, Balwinder Singh (46), is a private security guard of BJP leader Priyanshu Pandey and was arrested for allegedly carrying a loaded gun during the saffron party’s rally to Nabanna on Thursday. Pandey has also been arrested. Police said Balwinder, a resident of Punjab’s Bhatinda, is also an aide of BJP’s Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh.
In a video gone viral on social media, Balwinder is seen being lathicharged and dragged by police. In the melee, his turban was “removed”, said BJP leaders.
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) pic.twitter.com/aE8UgN36W5
— West Bengal Police (@WBPolice) October 9, 2020
Refuting the claims, the state police tweeted: “The concerned person was carrying firearms in yesterday’s protest. The pagri [turban] 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.”
While referring to a photograph of the Sikh man which, they claimed, was clicked before his arrest, the police said: “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.”
The incident had caught the attention of cricketer Harbhajan Singh, who demanded strict action against the guilty.
“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 demanded that the guilty policemen be booked under the IPC section 295A [acts intended to outrage religious].
BJP national secretary Arvind Menon said the incident had “insulted the Sikh community.”
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said the security guard was carrying a “licensed gun”.
Police said the gun licence was limited to only Rajouri district in J&K.
Rally to protest alleged assault of Sikh man
Around 50 members of the Sikh community today held a protest rally in the city, condemning the alleged assault on the Sikh man, news agency PTI reported.
“CM Mamata Banerjee please explain why the turban of a Sikh has been pulled by your police. You should explain or leave the chair,” the rallyists chanted on Central Avenue near Esplanade Crossing.
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