Turban Episode a Blatant Human Rights Violation, Says WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar

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File photos of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Dhankhar, who often posts his views on Twitter, took to the microblogging site yet again on Tuesday and said Mamata Banerjee government must take note of the widespread “outrage” over the “ill treatment,” of the Sikh man.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: October 13, 2020, 5:25 PM IST
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West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has been at loggerheads with Mamata Banerjee-headed TMC government in the state, Tuesday termed the alleged pulling off of a turban of a Sikh during scuffle between the police and BJP protestors as a “blatant human rights violation”. He asked the administration for ‘rectification’ rather than justifying the action.

Dhankhar, who often posts his views on Twitter, took to the microblogging site yet again on Tuesday and said Mamata Banerjee government must take note of the widespread “outrage” over the “ill treatment,” of the Sikh man. “Time ?@MamataOfficial? to relook #BalvindraSingh implication ?@WBPolice? & engage in rectification rather than justification. Already Balvindra poster boy for blatant Human Right violations in WB. Must appreciate Extensive Outrage at the ill treatment #BalvindraSingh,” Dhankhar tweeted tagging a video of himself speaking on the same issue.

The governor had earlier slammed the state police for the “disgraceful” act during a BJP Yuva Morcha march to the secretariat on October 8. Balvindra Singh was arrested after a licensed loaded firearm was found in his possession during a scuffle with the police at the BJP Yuva Morcha rally in Howrah on October 8.

His turban had fallen to the ground during the scuffle and the video of it went viral triggering protests by the community. Dhankhar said that Akal Takht, the highest Sikh body, had protested against the treatment meted out to Singh, who is said to be a former armed force personnel and is currently body guard of a BJP leader. He said it (message from the Sikh body) “must be impactful @MamataOfficial.” Listing the cases and sections of IPC slapped on Singh under the Disaster Management and Arms Act, the governor said, “Implication @WBPolice #balwindersingh in offences that provide even Life Imprisonment as punishment is shocking and unconscionable. High time @MamataOfficial to take sane stance and send human right and rule of law friendly signal by withdrawing such allegations.” In a video message attached to the tweet the governor said, “Home department and police should not justify wrong things. They should go for rectification. They should now apply the much needed balm. What happened is wrong.” In this context he referred to Rabindranath Tagore’s renouncing of knighthood after Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 which took place thousands of miles away in Punjab.

Dhankhar had told a Sikh delegation from Delhi on Sunday that he was “deeply hurt” by the episode. “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 had tweeted citing an apex court order. Reacting to it, state Education Minister and TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee had alleged that Dhankhar was “maligning” the post of the governor with his remarks and shirking responsibilities as the constitutional head of the state.

He said Sikhs and members of other communities have been living in harmony in West Bengal for ages “and no conspiracy will be able to create rift between them.”

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