Medinipur MP and BJP state president Dilip Ghosh targeted West Bengal Police over alleged manhandling of a Sikh bodyguard of a BJP leader in Howrah saying that had he been wearing a “round cap”, then police would not have shown such disrespect.
Balwinder Singh was allegedly beaten up, manhandled and his turban removed in a scuffle during the Nabanna Abhiyan. Police seized a licensed handgun from him from the spot.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Police issued a statement on social media saying that the turban had automatically fallen off during the scuffle and it was never their intention to hurt the sentiments of any community.
Addressing media persons, Ghosh said, “Balwinder Singh is the bodyguard of our leader Priyanshu Pandey. He was beaten up, manhandled, his pagri was taken off and was dragged away in such a disrespectful manner. We condemn such acts of the police and challenge them. If there would have been a round cap on the head, would the police have arrested him in such a way? Could they have shown such disrespect? It is shameful. It is because he is a Sikh that such action has been taken. Earlier, we have seen that a particular community had beaten up policemen in Howrah, and later police conducted a peace march there. This is undemocratic and a proof of politics of appeasement.”
He added, “TMC can hold any rally or programme. But when BJP carries out a political programme, we are stopped, beaten up and then arrested.”
Meanwhile, the TMC took a dig at the BJP following Ghosh’s statement and said the latter believes in communal politics.
State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said, “I have been beaten up by the police at political programmes during the Left regime. No one asked whether I had a cap or a tilak. By highlighting round caps, the BJP is showing its true nature. They believe in this kind of communal politics.”
West Bengal Police on Friday tweeted, “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.”
It added, “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 Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines