The run-up to West Bengal elections is likely to be bloody and violent as Mamata Banerjee is determined to brutally quell any protests against her government as was the case during the Lok Sabha 2019 elections. The Bhartiya Janata Party’s protest march against the TMC government saw many incidents of violence as the state police cracked down on the protests. However, one incident stood out which grabbed national headlines as videos emerged of the West Bengal Police removing a Sikh man’s turban, which is the pride of the Sikh culture.
It seems that Mamata Banerjee’s paranoia knows no bounds as instead of winning votes through good governance, she is attempting to ensure that there is no opposition against her to contest the elections. While many of the BJP workers were brutally beaten by the state police, one man saw his pride getting hurt as his turban was removed in a ‘scuffle’ with the West Bengal Police.
During the protest march organised by the youth wing of BJP against the Mamata government, the state police stopped the protest midway and resorted to lathi-charge and use of water cannons in a desperate bid to disperse the protestors.
Caught amidst the lathi-charge was BJP leader from Barrackpore Priyangu Pandey and his security personnel, Balvinder Singh. It is being reported that Balvinder Singh was not only beaten up by the state police but, his turban was also removed, videos of which have now gone viral.
Prominent faces of the Sikh community have publicly displayed their disdain over the incident and asked for strong action against the culprits. Harbhajan Singh, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga and Maninder Singh Sirsa have all taken to Twitter to condemn the incident. Punjab’s CM Amarinder Singh has also expressed his shock over the humiliating treatment and called for a strict action against the cops.
Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga even lodged a formal complaint with the National Commission for minorities:
The West Bengal Police on its end is maintaining innocence as it claims that the “Pagri had fallen off automatically” during the “scuffle”. The state police further stated that it was not their intention to hurt the religious sentiment of any community.
Balvinder Singh on his part was wrong to carry a piston during the rally, but this by no means gives the state police the power to not only bash him but also hurt the sentiments of the entire Sikh community by removing his turban. Singh was carrying a licensed pistol valid through 2021, but he has the permission to only use it in Rajouri and not Bengal.
Both Balvinder Singh and Priyanshu Pandey were held for investigation into the matter by the West Bengal Police. “I am not affiliated to any political party. I was not there to stage a protest. I am a retired soldier and part of Priyangu Pandey’s personal security team. I kept on urging the cops not to beat me up, but they did not hear a word. They pulled me by my hair and dragged me all along and later arrested me,” said Balvinder Singh.
The incident of the state police severely beating Balvinder Singh, opening up his Pagri and pulling him by his hair, didn’t do down well with the Sikh community as round 50 members of the Sikh community held a protest rally in Kolkata. “CM Mamata Banerjee please explain why the turban of a Sikh has been pulled by your police. You should explain or leave the chair.”
It seems that Mamata Banerjee’s rule of tyranny is coming to an end as she has struck a final fatal blow to her power and legacy with such brutal crackdown on the protests.