West Bengal govt says it has highest respect for Sikh panth

Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service
Kolkata, October 11

West Bengal government on Sunday said it had the highest respect for the Sikh panth.

Reacting on the controversy triggered off by the arrest of Balwinder Singh, a native of Bathinda, who was found carrying a firearm while participating in BJP demonstration in Kolkata against Chief Minister Mama Banerjee, the state home department said BJP was giving communal colour to the police action.

“One political party is giving communal colour to the subject in narrow partisan interest in a manner that Bengal does not believe in. Policing was done as per law, but highest respect for the Sikh panth and ways from GOWB is affirmed”, @HomeBengal said in a tweet.

“One illegally carried firearm amidst agitationists in an agitation that was not authorized is now being twisted out of context, being distorted, and being given communal colours in fractious and partisan interest,” the home department said in a second tweet which was in continuation of the first.

“Our Sikh brothers and sisters live here in West Bengal in perfect peace and harmony, in happiness and tranquillity, with respect from all of us for their faith and practices”, @HomeBengal said in a third tweet.

Earlier today, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, presented a memorandum to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at the Raj Bhavan here urging him to take appropriate penal and departmental action against police personnel responsible for “excessive use of force” against Balwinder.

“The action of the West Bengal Police in defiling the turban and keshas of a practising Sikh standing peacefully represent deliberate and malicious acts intended to insult the religious belief of the Sikh community as a whole,” stated the memorandum.

In a message, the Governor said he assured the DSGMC delegation that all steps would be taken for “such outrage”. “In no civilised society such blatant abuse of police power can be countenanced or condoned,” Dhankhar said.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga also wrote a letter to Minorities Commission member Atif Rasheed on Sunday demanding “strictest possible” action in this regard.

Balwinder, said to be a former member of the Special Forces (6 Para), who was working as personal security guard of BJP leader Priyanshu Pandey, was arrested by police on Thursday after violence broke out during BJP’s “Nabanna Chalo Abhiyan”.

A .32 bore pistol, whose licence is valid for Rajouri only, was found in Balwinder’s possession. West Bengal Police said Balwinder’s turban fell off when he scuffled with police.

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