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Blatant Misuse of Police Power, Action to be Taken, Says Bengal Guv Jagdeep Dhankhar on Turban Issue

File photo of Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

File photo of Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Dhankhar, who had been at odds with the Mamata Banerjee-led dispensation since assuming charge in the state, told the delegation he was "deeply hurt" by the episode.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday said the recent incident involving a Sikh man, whose turban was allegedly pulled by the police, was a matter of "disgrace" and assured members of the community that necessary action would be taken in this regard. Dhankhar, who had been at odds with the Mamata Banerjee-led dispensation since assuming charge in the state, told the delegation he was "deeply hurt" by the episode.

"Delegation led by president Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee @mssirsa Manindar Singh Sirsa submitted a representation regarding disgracing @MamataOfficial a Sikhs Dastar (headgear) that is grave insult to entire SikhCommunity and demanded justice for Balwinder Singh (sic)," the governor said on Twitter. He also attached a link to a video of the delegation's visit to Raj Bhavan during the day.

Sirsa, in his letter to Dhankhar, maintained that "excessive use of force by West Bengal police personnel was against the secular nature of the Constitution". Claiming that it was nothing but a "blatant abuse of police power," Dhankhar said, "As Governor I assured the delegation that all steps would be taken for such outrage@MamataOfficial.

"In no civilised society such blatant abuse of police power @WBPolice in disregard of Supreme Court directives in the case of DK Basu can be countenanced or condoned," he tweeted, citing an apex court order. State education minister and senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee, however, alleged that Dhankhar was "maligning" the post of governor with his remarks, and shirking responsibilities as the constitutional head of the state.

"The governor and the BJP have entered into a conspiracy to defame the state, which has always been known for its communal amity. The Sikh community in the state condemns such conspiracy," he said. The Delhi Gurudwara committee, in its representation on Sunday, urged the governor to take note of the incident and initiate steps for "appropriate penal and department action against the police and government employees guilty of committing the excesses and outraging religious sentiments".

Controversy erupted after visuals of the police beating up a Sikh man during BJP's protest on Thursday went viral on social media, with a section of Netizens claiming that the police had pulled his turban during the scuffle. The saffron brigade claimed the incident has hurt religious sentiments.

The man, identified as 43-year-old Balwinder Singh, is a resident of Bhatinda in Punjab. The BJP said that he was a former soldier of the Indian Army, and currently employed as a private security officer of a party leader.

The police, however, argued that the person was carrying a firearm and his headgear "had fallen off automatically in the scuffle". The state home department, in its tweet, said that the incident was being "twisted out of context by a political party to serve its partisan interest.

Members of the Sikh community took out a protest in the city on Friday condemning the incident. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had also expressed shock over the "humiliating treatment" meted out toa Sikh and urged his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee to take strict action "against the concerned cop for hurting the Sikh religious sentiments".


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