A week after the BJP rally in Kolkata where a Sikh protestor Balwinder Singh’s turban was pulled off by the police, his wife and son along with the president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee reached Kolkata on Wednesday hoping to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Balwinder is currently in Howrah jail under police custody after a firearm was retrieved from him. His turban being pulled off outraged several in the community as the video went viral on social media.
The BJP claims that he was a private security guard while the Gurudwara management committee says he was an ex-serviceman who served the country for two decades. They also added that the firearm was bought from Guwahati and had a valid license. “Balwinder has an all India license from the Army’s recommendation. Why is the state government doing this to Balwinder? Instead, they should take action against the police. I am hopeful Mamata will listen and give us time,” said Maninder Sirsa, president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. The Sikh organization feels Balwinder is being made a scapegoat in the war between BJP and Trinamool Congress.
Balwinder’s wife Karamjit Kaur and son Harshveer Singh along with others, were allowed to meet him in the Howrah Police station and then they went to meet the Governor. They are yet to get time to meet the Chief Minister and are staying back on Thursday. “We told the Governor that Balwinder served the country for 20 years and won medals for India. He fought against Pakistan on Indian soil and proudly served the mission. Balwinder should not be treated like a terrorist. There are 15 charges against him like attempt to murder, when Balwinder is being beaten up and his turban is being pulled out.”
On Thursday, around a hundred Sikh protesters will be gathering at a Gurdwara in Bhawanipore area to condemn the incident where Balwinder’s turban was pulled off by the police during the BJP protest. The state government on its part clarified their stance where a firearm was recovered from him, but that does not stop the Sikh community from seeking justice even as the BJP is trying to gain maximum political mileage from the issue.
(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )