Kolkata, October 16
The police on Thursday said the Sikh man, whose turban came off during his arrest last week, had an arms license which was valid only in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, and he was apprehended for being a part of an “unlawful assembly” and carrying a gun.
The Howrah Police Commissionerate, in a series of tweets, urged people not to get carried away by fabricated social media posts as a thorough investigation is underway.
Controversy had erupted after visuals of the police beating up the Sikh man during BJP’s protest march to the secretariat on October 8 went viral on social media. A section of netizens claimed that the police had pulled his turban during the scuffle, following which it came off.
The man was identified as 43-year-old Balwinder Singh, a resident of Bhatinda in Punjab.
He was arrested with a loaded pistol.
“As per the National Database of Arms Licences, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India; the Arms licence of Sh Balwindar Singh is valid only in Rajouri distt of J&K. He was arrested for being part of an unlawful assembly with a weapon,” the Howrah city police tweeted.
“Please do not get carried away by fabricated social media posts. A thorough investigation is going on to unearth the truth,” it further said.
Singh’s family members have arrived in Kolkata and met him twice in police custody. They have also visited the Raj Bhavan, and urged Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to make arrangements for his release.
“He will be in police custody till Sunday. Thereafter, Singh will be produced before court,” a police officer said.
The turban controversy has emerged as a political flashpoint between the TMC and the BJP, with the safrom camp accusing the ruling party of hurting religious sentiments.
The state government had said that a political outfit was deliberately giving “communal colour” to the incident to serve its “narrow partisan interest”.
The state home department had also said Singh was arrested in accordance with the law for carrying illegal firearms during BJP’s march to the state secretariat.
Violence had erupted in Kolkata and adjoining Howrah on October 8, as BJP activists tried to go past barricades put up by the police to stop their rally at the secretariat.
The police later said the rally was taken out by the saffrom camp without proper permission. PTI