The West Bengal government has clarified their stand after massive outrage where a Sikh BJP protester was caught on camera with his turban pulled out. The video which went viral was taken at Howrah maidan during Thursday’s mega BJP rally. The Home department of West Bengal has tweeted clarifying the incident. The Police administration is facing flak ever since.
From Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to cricketer Harbhajan Singh, many have asked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take strict action against the Police and have even questioned the Trinamool Congress(TMC) administration’s treatment towards the Sikh community in the name of law and order.
“Our Sikh brothers and sisters live here in West Bengal in perfect peace and harmony, in happiness and tranquility, with respect from all of us for their faith and practices. A recent incident when one isolated individual got caught with 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 colors in fractious and partisan interest," West Bengal Police said.
“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," they added.
The BJP had called for four mega rallies, marching towards the state secretariat, Nabanna, to protest against the deteriorating law and situation in West Bengal. Permission to the rallies were denied under the National Disaster Management Act(NDMA) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic where not more than 100 persons can assemble at one time. Also section 144 is imposed around Nabanna being a high security zone which houses the Chief Minister’s office. Nabanna however was closed for sanitization on the day of the rally.
During the rallies, police resorted to tear gas, water canons and lathi-charging to disperse the crowds, in response the protesters hurled bricks, stones and crude bombs at the police. The man in question Balwinder Singh was caught with a firearm, forcing the BJP to clarify that he was a security guard and hence carried the weapon.
On Friday, the Police had clarified that the man was caught with a firearm, but the issue did not die down. As West Bengal goes to polls in 2021, the state wants to portray they embrace all communities, even as the opposition party, BJP is trying hard to use the issue to it’s advantage.